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Bill protects new car dealers and consumers from bad behavior by automakers

Brian Castonguay, a longtime local car dealer, is shown at Kuni Chevrolet Cadillac dealership in 2015.
Brian Castonguay, a longtime local car dealer, is shown at Kuni Chevrolet Cadillac dealership in 2015. Sacramento Bee file

In response to an opinion article criticizing Assembly Bill 2107 (“New car dealers push self-serving bill,” Viewpoints, May 23), California’s new car dealers have a very different story to tell.

In fact, AB 2107 supports local businesses and consumers, and does not harm them.

California’s new motor vehicle franchise system was established to protect dealers and their customers from onerous requirements by automakers. The clear and balanced objective of AB 2107 is to address unfair behavior and level the playing field between local independently-owned dealerships and multinational vehicle manufacturers.

Brian Maas

All 50 states have similar laws. With consistent abuses against franchised new car dealers, California’s laws must be strengthened to protect local businesses and their patrons.

Opponents claim that AB 2107 limits consumer choice and drives up cost. The opposite is true. Burdensome manufacturer requirements, coupled with anti-competitive practices, put California new car dealers under unfair business conditions.

These unreasonable mandates violate the spirit, and in some cases the letter, of California franchise law. Enforcement against these abuses is delayed or absent, meaning that manufacturers aren’t being held accountable. This unchecked behavior hurts local dealerships, their employees and their customers. At a public hearing, representatives for manufacturers said they are “unwilling to negotiate” with car dealers on these issues.

When it comes to what’s best for local businesses and consumers, preserving the vitality of local new car dealers is the clear choice, not rewarding multinational automakers and their unfair behavior.

Brian Maas is president of the California New Car Dealers Association. He can be contacted at bmaas@cncda.org.

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