Audi sent a termination notice on Feb. 5, 2020, for Prime's Audi Westwood store in Massachusetts. In early April 2020, the dealership filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court in Norfolk County protesting the notice of termination, saying that Audi didn't have good cause to terminate Audi Westwood's franchise agreement. Audi contends that Prime violated state law when it fired former Prime CEO David Rosenberg without its approval.That case was moved to federal court in Massachusetts. A status conference is set for July 7, and discovery deadlines have been stayed pending the June settlement conference between GPB and Volkswagen.
Spokespeople for Volkswagen, Audi and GPB each declined to comment because of the pending litigation.
Prime's Volkswagen dealership in Saco in April last year filed a protest with the Maine Motor Vehicle Franchise Board because it claimed Volkswagen was attempting to force it to sell its store and effectively terminate its franchise based "on an unlawful agreement."
In July 2020, VW sought to dismiss that complaint, citing the contract between GPB and Volkswagen, not the dealership, and because the complaint failed to state a claim for relief.
John McCurry, chairman of the Maine board, in an email to Automotive News, said he granted Volkswagen's motion to dismiss but that the Superior Court reversed his decision and remanded it back to the board. He said the parties are looking to settle their dispute as part of the GPB-Volkswagen hearing.