FTC to Host Public Workshop Examining the U.S. Auto Distribution System Workshop Will Explore Competition, State Regulations, and Emerging Trends in the Industry, Project No. P131202
Meeting its customer's needs is a difficult task for an automobile manufacturer. It requires an array of showrooms and service centers, and the warehouses, inventory, and logistics to operate them. Still, in this information-driven age, I see no reason why local businessmen should obtain a monopoly on these services within each state. Certainly, automobile manufacturers must respect their contracts with their franchisees, but there is no reason why all outlets must be independent franchises. In most other industries there are a variety of sales and support channels, internet/mail-order, manufacturer-direct, manufacturer-owned franchises, independent franchises, and multi-brand retailers, both internet-based and "brick and mortar" stores. This variety of available sales models allows the customer relationship to be optimized according to the parties' preferences and provides competitions which encourages efficiency. I encourage the FTC to work with the industry to enable alternative sales and service relationships to improve the quality and efficiency of the motor vehicle buyer's and owner's experience.