FTC Workshop on Auto Distribution starts soon

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Today’s the day we open the hood to explore competition issues around state regulation of motor vehicle distribution.  If you can’t attend our day-long workshop, watch the live webcast using the LIVE WEBCAST link on the Auto Distribution workshop page. Morning panels will cover regulation of dealer networks and warranty reimbursement, while afternoon panels will cover direct-to-consumer sales, and future trends such as autonomous vehicles and car sharing services. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will kick off the event with opening remarks starting at 9:00 EST; the webcast will go live shortly before. You can also follow updates via Twitter @FTC, and join the discussion using #FTCauto. A video of the webcast will be available in a few days.

Have some thoughts on the topic you want to share? Comments are due by March 4, 2016 and can be filed online.

Comments

As the topic of direct-to-consumer sales is reviewed please be considerate of value's that dealerships bring. The current system provides for a competitive structure due to the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur removed will increase control of the manufacturer programs that are always being invented. There is no guarantee or trust that any benefit will be transferred by "big company" to anyone. Without pushback of the entrepreneur, the consumer will be compromised.
Direct-to-consumer sales have been tried many times before. The result has been to maintain the current dealer network, one that many citizens or entrepreneurs count on the value of such to be maintained.

The existing system of car dealerships is certainly malfunctioning in California. To be brief, out of 4 orders placed for GM cars since 2004, only one arrived in a reasonable time. I want the ability to buy a car configured to my needs like Tesla does it. You cannot do this reliably with General Motors today. I should be able to order from General Motors directly, then get put in the queue with other buyers. As it is today, only certain dealers get their cars on time, based on their sales volume. Both of the GM dealerships in our area have since closed. So the existing system doesn't seem to ensure a dealer network either.

An interesting sidebar is that "green" vehicles are the hardest to get, as the smaller dealers cannot or will not get them due to the limited demand. So the existing system also works against the adoption of Electric Vehicles. Only the biggest dealerships can afford to put them on the lots, thereby harming the sales. Because until you actually drive an EV, you never really understand how much better they are than gasoline cars. Limiting access to them hurts us all, not just car buyers.

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