When Rick Case Maserati applied to open a new point in Davie, Fla., nearby competitor Maserati of Fort Lauderdale wasn't pleased. So it filed a protest with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Now, after multiple legal battles, the Fort Lauderdale store has given up its fight.
Maserati of Fort Lauderdale's protest had not been based on location, which would have been problematic. The store is about 17 miles from the Davie point, and the state dealer law says protesting dealers must be within 12.5 miles in large-population counties such as Broward, home to both stores.
Rather, Maserati of Fort Lauderdale made use of a provision in the dealer law that gives challenging dealerships standing to protest if they made at least 25 percent of their new-vehicle retail sales to purchasers with a "registered household address" within 12.5 miles of a proposed new point. The threshold can be reached in any 12-month period within the 36 months preceding the application for the new point.
At the hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, an economics expert for Maserati of Fort Lauderdale testified that the store's protest met the 25 percent test based on the primary household addresses listed in purchasers' sales files. The expert did not use the addresses where the new vehicles were registered.