Texas lawmakers have abolished the state board that heard disputes and resolved licensing issues involving automakers and dealerships.
The Texas Motor Vehicle Board's power to enforce franchise laws was shifted to the Motor Vehicle Division of the state Transportation Department.
Advocates of the legislation say the intent remains to settle dealer-factory differences out of court.
The law took effect last month.
Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, predicts the change will have little impact on dealers.
"We have not lost any of the franchise laws that dealers have passed over the last 40 years that give us parity with the manufacturers," Wolters says.
The industry may benefit from the new law, he says.
The Transportation Department has specialized knowledge of the industry that the Motor Vehicle Board may have lacked, Wolters says.
"We are confident in the expert staff of the motor vehicle division," he says.
The Motor Vehicle Board had nine members, appointed by the governor to six-year terms. Six members represented the general public. Of the three industry members, one was a new-vehicle dealer, one was a used-vehicle dealer and one represented an automaker.