A 3-mile relocation of one Mississippi Chevrolet store pushed another to sue General Motors when it realized the competing store bordered its market area. But the state's court of appeals has ruled that the automaker isn't to blame.
GM failed to tell Ryan Chevrolet in Hattiesburg about Pine Belt Chevrolet's move, but the automaker didn't have to, the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled, because it wasn't changing Pine Belt Chevrolet's area of primary responsibility.
In the Nov. 13 ruling, the court unanimously rejected Ryan Chevrolet's claim that the lack of notice violated both state law and its sales and service agreement with GM.
The dispute stemmed from the planned move of Pine Belt Chevrolet, which was then in Purvis, from 13 miles to 10 miles away from Ryan Chevrolet, the decision said.
The dealerships have neighboring areas of primary responsibility, and Pine Belt Chevrolet's new site was still within its own area of primary responsibility. Still, Ryan Chevrolet's brief noted that the "new location was literally across the highway from Ryan's market area," in Bellevue, just outside Hattiesburg's city limits. The move took place in July.