A luxury vehicle dealership in the Miami area is suing Porsche for $300 million, alleging the German sports-car maker is withholding inventory because the dealership has not built a new standalone store.
The Collection, a multibrand dealership in Coral Gables, Fla., alleges that Porsche is violating the state's dealer franchise law by restricting the allocation of "pool cars" after the retailer refused to build an exclusive brand store.
Porsche said the pool cars, which typically account for no more than 20 percent of available inventory, are assigned to dealers at the factory's discretion. To qualify, dealers must operate exclusive Porsche stores and meet facility design standards, the company said.
Sean Burstyn, the Miami attorney representing The Collection, said Florida franchise law prohibits an automaker from requiring dealers to establish exclusive facilities.
"Where exclusivity is a requirement, the manufacturer has run afoul of our state's statute," said Burstyn, founder of Burstyn Law PLLC.
A spokesman for Porsche Cars North America declined to comment on the suit, which was filed Sept. 22 in Miami-Dade County's 11th Judicial Circuit. The Collection claims that its Porsche franchise could be "completely worthless" if it continues to be denied pool allocations.
The Collection notes in the suit that Porsche's "coercive, retaliatory and malicious conduct" has already cost it "millions of dollars" and, if left unchecked, will cause more than $100 million in damages.
The lawsuit against Porsche and its subsidiaries, including Porsche Latin America Inc. and Porsche Cars North America Inc., seeks to prevent the automaker from establishing a new franchise in Florida while the litigation is ongoing.
"This is an unfortunate and hopefully short chapter in what has been a nearly 30-year strong relationship between The Collection and Porsche," The Collection CEO Ken Gorin said in an e-mail. "We did not make this decision lightly."