Dealer-backed legislation introduced last month in Colorado to significant manufacturer opposition has passed the state Legislature and is headed to the governor.
Legislators approved the bill last week, 92-8, said Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. Jackson said he expects Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign the bill into law.
The measure would ensure that all state franchise protections apply to all dealership sales and service agreements regardless of when agreements were last updated, Jackson said. Some manufacturers have told Colorado dealers that certain provisions in the state's franchise law don't apply to them because their franchise agreements predated the law, he said.
"It's unfortunate that dealers need to ensure that type of protection," Jackson said. Most manufacturers "were not creating a problem. So all the manufacturers will pay the price of the action of a few that have ignored the laws."
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers strongly opposed the bill and spokesman Dan Gage said the group is disappointed about the bill's passage. Dealers wanted more favors from the state Capitol without identifying the specific problems needing correction in the first place, he said.
"This Legislature has now bound future Legislatures in law to accept these provisions without any ability to alter or change," Gage said in an e-mail. "This law in essence grants retroactivity into perpetuity. It's absurd and unprecedented and perhaps even unconstitutional."
In recent years, other states -- Florida, North Carolina and South Dakota -- have passed similar legislation to make clear that any update to franchise law is applicable or retroactive to existing contracts.