If you want to open a dealership, but there is an established dealership selling the same line-make of vehicles in the area already, you must take extra steps to obtain a dealer license.
According to the Florida Statutes, this is the process for opening a dealership in this situation.
1. You submit a notification
You must notify the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Bureau of Dealer Services in writing of your intention to open the dealership. This must include the following:
- Your proposed location
- The date you intend to open your business
- The franchised dealers already licensed to sell that line-make of vehicles in the county and the immediately surrounding counties
- Your name and address and those of the principal investors in your dealership
2. The FDHSMV publishes a notification
You must pay for the notification in the Florida Administrative Register that informs other dealerships that they have 30 days to protest. The FDHSMV also mails the notification to the dealerships.
3. You dispute protests
If another dealership protests, you will have to prove that it does not adequately represent the line-make of vehicles in the area. Your evidence may include how your dealership will affect customers, current dealerships, the public interest and yourself. This includes the potential financial impact on those who are protesting.
Other forms of evidence you may present are the potential market penetration in the area and the effect of your dealership on the existing dealership’s obligations to its own agreement and its potential for growth, expansion or relocation. Depending on what factors are relevant, you may need other evidence to meet the burden of proof.