Ford Motor Co. will file an objection to a Texas administrative law judges' recommendation that the company be fined $1.7 million for selling used vehicles on the Internet.
Ford spokesman John Ochs said the company will meet the today, Dec. 11, deadline to protest the recommendation by Judge Kathryn Scales on Nov. 21. Scales contends Ford violated Texas law 'by acting as a dealer without a dealer's license,' but Ford denies that.
The Texas Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Board will review the proposal and Ford's objection at its Jan. 18 meeting.
The Texas Motor Vehicle Division shut down the Houston operation of Ford's used-car Web site last year because it argued the automaker broke a state law prohibiting factories from acting as dealers.
Ford sued the state in federal court, contending that Fordpreowned.com involves interstate commerce and that the state should not be able to restrict the company's Internet business. Ford also said the Web site is a form of free speech.
Ford-owned off-lease used cars are listed on Fordpreowned.com with set prices. If consumers find a vehicle they are interested in, Ford will transfer the title of the vehicle to a local Ford dealer. The dealer earns a fee for managing the test drive and the sale.
Ford still operates the site in San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta and New York.