What is it?

Decision from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

What does it say?

Amendments to the Florida Dealer Act do not apply to dealers with franchise agreements dated prior to the effective date of the amendment

What is the background?

  • Yamaha motorcycle dealer voluntarily terminates its franchise agreement in 2008
  • Dealer files protest with the Department challenging Yamaha’s refusal to buyback dealer’s parts, as required upon termination by section 320.64(36), Florida Statutes
  • Department holds that the 2006 amendment to the Dealer Act which created section 320.64(36) does not apply to dealer, because dealer’s franchise agreement is dated 2004

What is the impact on you?

  • The Department has indicated its intention to follow the Yamaha decision when determining which portions of the Dealer Act apply to a particular dealer
  • If your franchise agreement predates an amendment to the Dealer Act, you may not be entitled to that protection

Important Examples (last 5 years):

  • 2009 – Dealer Act amended to require that a dealer be paid fair market value when a manufacturer eliminates a brand
  • 2008/2009 – Dealer Act amended to require that manufacturers offer all incentive programs equally to every dealer
  • 2008 – Dealer Act amended to prohibit manufacturers from requiring facility upgrades
  • 2007/2008 – Dealer Act amended to require that dealers receive retail rate as reimbursement for parts used in warranty repairs
  • 2007 – Dealer Act amended to permit dealers to add another franchise to their existing dealership, despite manufacturer prohibition
  • 2006 – Dealer Act amended to require that manufacturers repurchase a dealer’s vehicle and parts inventory, signs, and special tools upon termination

Things to Consider:

  • A significant amendment to your dealer agreement may “reset” the date of your agreement for purposes of determining which Dealer Act protections apply to you
  • New agreements as a result of bankruptcy (GM and Chrysler) have new dates that are entitled to all of the existing protections
  • Even if you are entitled to all of the existing Dealer Act protections (you have dealer agreement dated later than May 28, 2009), you may not be entitled to any future Dealer Act amendments/protections

What is FADA Doing:

Fixing this inequitable interpretation of the law is FADA’s Number 1 legislative priority!