Growing tensions between franchised dealers and legacy automakers over evolving sales models and vehicle service work are emerging as key issues in statehouses across the U.S. this year.
Several state dealer associations are backing legislation to amend franchise laws that govern the relationship between dealerships and the automakers whose brands they sell. The issues run the spectrum.
Some states, such as Virginia, are proposing language that would prevent traditional automakers from negotiating the sale or lease of a new vehicle directly with consumers or declaring dealers to be delivery agents. Other states want to spell out dealers' role in participating in future subscription revenue that automakers may seek to activate with over-the-air software updates. Proposals to remove automakers' right of first refusal in buy-sell deals — the ability to assign an alternative buyer — also are on the table.