An Ohio dealership is suing Kia Motors America Inc., contending Kia's graduated sales incentives for dealers discriminate against smaller stores.
The federal antitrust suit could affect all automakers that pay so-called stair-step incentives, says Richard Sox, the dealership's lawyer.
A stair-step, or tiered, incentive is a cash bonus dealerships earn for selling factory-prescribed numbers and models of vehicles. It rewards dealerships for meeting progressively higher sales targets.
The suit, brought by Chesrown Kia of Newark, Ohio, seeks to end Kia's stair-step incentives. It says such programs ensure that only the highest-volume Kia dealerships qualify for the biggest incentives.
All dealerships must meet the same sales threshold to qualify for factory incentives, the lawsuit notes. Above that minimum level, stores that sell more vehicles and more-expensive vehicles get more money.