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The Federal Trade Commission will host a one-day workshop on January 19, 2016, to explore competition and related issues in the U.S. auto distribution system, including how consumers and businesses may be affected by state regulations and emerging trends in the industry. The event will take place in Washington, D.C. at the FTC’s Constitution Center Auditorium, starting at 9 a.m.

The auto industry is a critical sector of the U.S. economy and one that is undergoing substantial technology-driven change.  It is currently subject to regulation at both the state and federal level. States, for example, regulate the relationship between auto manufacturers and the dealers that sell cars to consumers, including dealer location, warranty reimbursement, and direct-to-consumer sales. Other state and federal regulations govern a variety of other aspects of auto operation and ownership, such as safety, insurance, and licensing.

The January workshop will focus primarily on exploring the competition issues arising from state level regulation of auto distribution.  It also will explore emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on how those trends will affect the current regulatory system that governs the auto industry.

Through this workshop, the FTC seeks to enrich its knowledge about this critical sector of the economy and to facilitate discussion of the competition and related issues surrounding it. To that end, the staff of the FTC is accepting public comment on a number of questions related to the workshop.  For further information on the workshop and the public comment process, including a list of suggested questions open for comment, please see the workshop’s detailed public notice.

The workshop will be webcast live on the FTC’s website.  Registration information, an agenda, directions to the FTC’s Constitution Center building, and a list of speakers will be available in the near future on the event webpage. Advance registration is not required, but is strongly encouraged.

The FTC’s Office of Policy Planning works with the Commission and its staff to develop long-range competition and consumer policy initiatives, consistent with the FTC’s unique mission to conduct research and engage in advocacy on issues that affect competition, consumers, and the U.S. economy. The Office of Policy Planning submits advocacy filings; conducts research and studies; organizes public workshops; issues reports; and advises staff on cases raising new or complex policy and legal issues. To reach the Office of Policy Planning, send an e-mail to Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information


Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs


Patrick Roach
Office of Policy Planning

James Frost
Bureau of Competition