FTC Staff Comment Supporting Michigan Senate Bill 268, And Recommending That the Michigan Legislature Consider Expanding the Bill To Permit Automobile Manufacturers To Sell New Motor Vehicles Directly To Consumers

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FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from Michigan State Senator Darwin L. Booher, on the possible competitive effects of a legislation that would permit manufacturers of a category of vehicles, “autocycles,” to choose whether to sell directly to consumers, through dealers, or through some combination of the two. The staff comment states that the bill is likely to promote competition and benefit consumers by opening this category of motor vehicles to competition in methods of distribution. However, in the staff’s view, the bill “does not go far enough,” and would “largely perpetuate the current law’s protectionism for independent franchised dealers, to the detriment of Michigan car buyers.” The comment urges Michigan lawmakers to consider repealing the ban on direct-to-consumer sale of motor vehicles by auto manufacturers, and instead “permit manufacturers and consumers to reengage the normal competitive process that prevails in most other industries.”