Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 108: MOTOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND DEALERS FRANCHISING
9 V.S.A. § 4098. Limitations on establishing or relocating dealers
§ 4098. Limitations on establishing or relocating dealers
(a) In the event that a manufacturer seeks to enter into a franchise establishing an additional new motor vehicle dealer or relocating an existing new motor vehicle dealer within or into a relevant market area where the same line-make is then represented, the manufacturer shall in writing first give notice to the transportation board and notify each new motor vehicle dealer in such line-make in the relevant market area of the intention to establish an additional dealer or to relocate an existing dealer within or into that market area. Within 20 days of receiving such notice or within 20 days after the end of any appeal procedure provided by the manufacturer, any such new motor vehicle dealer may file a protest with the board opposing the establishing or relocating of the new motor vehicle dealer. A copy of the protest shall be served on the manufacturer within the 20-day period. When such a protest is filed, the manufacturer shall not establish or relocate the proposed new motor veh
icle dealer until the board has held a hearing, nor thereafter, if the board has determined that there is not good cause for permitting the addition or relocation of such new motor vehicle dealer.
(b) This section does not apply:
(1) to the relocation of an existing dealer within that dealer's relevant market area, provided that the relocation not be at a site within six miles of a licensed new motor vehicle dealer for the same line-make of motor vehicle; or
(2) if the proposed new motor vehicle dealer is to be established at or within two miles of a location at which a former licensed new motor vehicle dealer for the same line-make of new motor vehicle had ceased operating within the previous two years.
(c) In determining whether good cause has been established for entering into or relocating an additional new motor vehicle dealer for the same line-make, the board shall take into consideration the existing circumstances, including, but not limited to:
(1) permanency of the investment of both the existing and proposed new motor vehicle dealers;
(2) growth or decline in population and new car registrations in the relevant market area;
(3) effect on the consuming public in the relevant market area;
(4) whether it is injurious or beneficial to the public welfare for an additional new motor vehicle dealer to be established;
(5) whether the new motor vehicle dealers of the same line-make in that relevant market area are providing adequate competition and convenient customer care for the motor vehicles of the line-make in the market area which shall include the adequacy of motor vehicle sales and service facilities, equipment, supply of motor vehicle parts, and qualified service personnel;
(6) whether the establishment of an additional new motor vehicle dealer would increase competition, and therefore be in the public interest; and
(7) the effect that the proposed franchise would have on the stability of existing franchisees in the same line-make in the relevant market area.
(d) At any hearing conducted by the board under this section, the manufacturer seeking to establish an additional new motor vehicle dealership or relocate an existing new motor vehicle dealership shall have the burden of proof in establishing that good cause exists. (Added 1981, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 14, 1982; amended 2009, No. 57, § 1, eff. June 1, 2009.)