Florida’s automobile industry is a competitive one, but there are rules in place to prevent unfair competition. When you have an established relationship with an automotive manufacturer and that manufacturer tries to open a similar dealership nearby, this could have a serious impact on your business’s bottom line.
For this reason, the Florida Senate reports that you have a right to protest the opening of a new dealership when it threatens yours in certain ways.
The protest timeline
When a licensee wants to open a new dealership that sells the same vehicles as yours near yours, that licensee must give notice to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. The notice then undergoes publication in the Florida Administrative Weekly. Once it appears there, you have 30 days from the date of publication to protest the new dealership.
Reasons for license denials
The licensee may have his or her application for the new dealership denied if certain circumstances exist. If your protest has merit, meaning it demonstrates that the new dealership would cause harm to or infringe on your own business, this may result in a denial. The licensee may also have his or her application denied for failing to show how existing dealerships selling the same line-make do not provide adequate representation of the vehicles in question. In this case, it is up to the applicant to show how the existing dealership’s representation is inadequate.
Invoking your right to protest requires you to follow specific steps and a clear timeline. Failing to exercise this right may threaten the profitability of your dealership.