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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission held a one-day public workshop on January 19, 2016, to explore competition and related issues in the context of state regulation of motor vehicle distribution, and to promote more informed analysis of how these regulations affect businesses and consumers. The workshop, consisting of presentations and discussion, focused on the following topics: (1) the regulation of dealer location; (2) laws relating to reimbursement for warranty services; (3) restrictions on manufacturers’ ability to engage in direct sales to consumers; and (4) new developments affecting motor vehicle distribution, such as autonomous vehicles, connected cars, and the rise of subscription-based automobile sharing services.

Video and Transcript

The workshop webcast videos are available for viewing (under Video, below). Viewers may want to review the panelist slide presentations (under Event Speakers, below) as they watch the videos. A transcript of the workshop is also available (under Transcripts, below).


If you have a question about the workshop, please email

  • 9:00 am

    Opening Remarks

    9:30 am

    State Regulation of Dealer Networks

    Most states closely regulate the ability of automobile manufacturers to add new dealerships, shut down existing dealerships or move dealerships to new locations. This panel will explore the purpose and effect of these laws from the perspective of both market participants and consumers. On balance, do these laws benefit or harm consumers and competition?


    • Jim Anderson, Founder, President & CEO, Urban Science
    • Carl Chiappa, Partner, Hogan Lovells
    • Aaron Jacoby, Partner, Arent Fox
    • Joseph Roesner, President, Fontana Group
    • Professor Henry Schneider, Cornell University


    • James Frost, Office of Policy & Coordination, FTC
    • Patrick Roach, Office of Policy Planning, FTC

    11:00 am

    Morning Break
    11:15 am

    Warranty Reimbursement Regulation

    When dealers repair vehicles covered by a manufacturer warranty, manufacturers reimburse the dealer for the cost of the labor and parts used to effectuate the repair. Many states directly regulate this reimbursement process, establishing detailed formulas for calculating reimbursement rates. This panel will discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of state regulation in this area, with a particular focus on consumer welfare considerations.


    • James Appleton, President, New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers
    • Daniel L. Goldberg, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
    • Professor David Sappington, University of Florida
    • Richard Sox, Partner, Bass Sox Mercer


    • Nathan Wilson, Bureau of Economics, FTC
    • James Frost, Office of Policy & Coordination, FTC

    12:30 pm

    Lunch Break (on your own)

    1:45 pm

    Keynote Presentation

    Professor Dennis Carlton, University of Chicago

    2:15 pm

    Direct Distribution

    Some states restrict the ability of car makers to sell their vehicles directly to the ultimate consumer, mandating the use of independent, franchised dealers. Several new entrants into automobile manufacturing have sought to bypass or overturn these restrictions and deal directly with the public. Are restrictions on direct distribution in this industry in the public interest? This panel will include experts on both sides of this contentious issue.


    • Professor Dan Crane, University of Michigan
    • Maryann Keller, Managing Partner, Maryann Keller & Associates
    • Todd Maron, General Counsel, Tesla Motors
    • Steven McKelvey, Partner, Nelson Mullins
    • Paul Norman, Partner, Boardman & Clark
    • Joel Sheltrown, Vice President of Government Affairs, Elio Motors


    • Patrick Roach, Office of Policy Planning, FTC
    • Paolo Ramezzana, Bureau of Economics, FTC

    3:45 pm

    Afternoon Break
    4:00 pm

    Future Trends

    If current press reports are accurate, big changes may be coming soon to the ways people use automobiles. As new technologies such as autonomous vehicles, connected cars and car sharing services become more prevalent, how might existing regulatory structures need to change? What will these new ways of using automobiles mean for the traditional, franchised distribution system in place today? How should the interests of competition and consumers be protected?


    • Avery Ash, Director of Federal Relations, American Automobile Association
    • Ashwini Chhabra, Head of Policy Development, Uber Technologies
    • Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO, Securing America’s Future Energy
    • Professor Fiona Scott Morton, Yale University
    • Professor Bryant Walker Smith, University of South Carolina
    • Peter Welch, President, National Automobile Dealers Association


    • Ellen Connelly, Office of Policy Planning, FTC
    • Patrick Roach, Office of Policy Planning, FTC

    5:25 pm

    Closing Remarks

    James Frost, Office of Policy & Coordination, FTC


  • Request for Comments

    The last day to submit public comments was March 4, 2016.

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register for events that require registration. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s Privacy Act system for public records and comprehensive privacy policy.

This event will be open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded.  By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.