PRACTICES

Automotive Dealership Law

Today’s retail automotive business is all about change: changing laws, shifting regulations, buying, selling, and new formations. The future of your dealership depends on your ability to manage and adapt to whatever comes your way. To manage this change successfully, you need a team of experienced advisors — advisors who really understand the current consumer, environmental and regulatory issues of dealership management.

McNees Wallace & Nurick, counsel to the Pennsylvania Automotive Association (PAA), assists dealers with the host of legal challenges found in today’s highly regulated business environment. From buys and sells to franchise terminations; from environmental to employee relations; from consumer complaints to problems with PennDOT; from formation of a new dealership to successor planning; from taxes to tags. For almost 25 years we have provided effective representation and assistance to dealerships inside and outside of Pennsylvania.

Just a few of our services include:

  • Buys/Sells and New Dealer Formation. You need effective representation to make the most of a dealership sale or purchase. Maximizing sale proceeds and minimizing acquisition costs after taxes are issues that demand experienced counsel. But even that’s not enough! You also need agreements that address the unique issues arising from the sale or purchase of a dealership. You must have an advisor who understands the laws that affect the relocation and establishment of new dealers.
  • Franchise Terminations. Simply selling new vehicles is no longer enough to avoid termination by a manufacturer. Manufacturers now are scrutinizing facilities, location, sales penetration, customer satisfaction and other criteria in order to realign or reduce their dealer bodies. To combat terminations, now more than ever, you need effective representation by an experienced team.
  • Environmental Issues. What should you do when you discover an environmental problem at the dealership? How do you handle environmental problems in a buy/sell? Environmental issues are a trap for the unwary. We can guide you through this minefield.
  • Employee Relations. Dealers face constant threats from disgruntled employees who claim discrimination–ADEA, ADA, PHRC, EEOC and more. If an employee asserts a claim, turn to lawyers who understand your business and know how to sort out the alphabet soup.
  • Consumer Complaints. No business in America is immune from the scrutiny of consumer protection laws and no businessperson is scrutinized as closely as the automobile dealer. Every advertisement you use may be examined by the Bureau of Consumer Protection. McNees Wallace & Nurick attorneys have been involved in numerous “lemon law” suits and other commercial actions and have negotiated effectively with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office on behalf of dealers.
  • Successor Planning. We understand the special considerations involved in planning the estate of a dealer. We know how to plan transition from one generation to the next without selling the dealership to pay death taxes and how to ensure that your designated successor becomes the dealer-principal.
  • Regulatory Issues. If you have late title work problems, concerns about the use of your dealer plates or issues regarding temporary tags, or if you are faced with a suspension of your state safety inspection privileges, let us know promptly. We know what to do to ensure that your dealership will be protected through effective legal representation. We have extensive experience in cases before the State Licensing Board–under whose purview your dealership exists. And what’s more, by virtue of our Harrisburg home base, we have quick and convenient access to the agencies involved.

Our team will work with your regular, local legal counsel to render prompt, efficient and cost-effective legal services.

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