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The Federal Trade Commission has announced the full agenda for its upcoming workshop, “Automobile Distribution: Current Issues and Future Trends.” The all-day event, which will take place on January 19 in Washington, D.C., will explore critical issues in the regulation of auto distribution, with the aim of better understanding how state regulations impact the current market for these important products.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will deliver remarks at the workshop. Panelists will include academics along with representatives from a cross-section of the industry, including experienced practitioners that regularly represent dealers and manufacturers, and representatives from firms such as Tesla, Elio and Uber.

Aside from their home, an automobile is frequently the most expensive single item consumers purchase, so the healthy functioning of these markets is critically important to the U.S. economy. Many of the regulations affecting auto distribution were drafted decades ago, and the workshop will address a number of related questions, including: Who benefits and who is harmed by these regulations? How do the laws affect today’s consumers?

Individual panels, described further in the public notice, will explore state level regulation of dealer location, warranty reimbursement, and direct-to-consumer sales. The closing panel will examine how emerging trends, such as ride-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, might affect how cars are sold and the current regulatory system that governs the auto industry.

Joining industry experts and market participants on the panels will be a number of academics from leading universities with research interests in these issues. University of Chicago Professor Dennis Carlton will present a keynote address to open the afternoon sessions.

If you wish to attend the workshop, pre-registration is not required, but it is strongly encouraged. Further details, including registration, information regarding the public comment process for this workshop, and directions to the workshop location at the FTC’s Constitution Center offices are available on the workshop website. The workshop will be webcast live on the FTC’s website.

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Contact Information

Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs