Skip to Main Content

BakerHostetler’s Distribution and Franchise Team has “fast responses and a high success rate.”

We provide comprehensive advice to a full spectrum of manufacturers in the automotive, marine, truck, construction and agricultural equipment, emergency response vehicle, motorcycle, ATV, recreational vehicles, and other manufacturing industries.

  • Serving as lead counsel in landmark federal litigation seeking a declaration that the Texas statutory prohibition against manufacturer direct sales is unconstitutional.
  • Representing numerous electric vehicle manufacturers in formulating and implementing their direct-to-consumer distribution model.
  • Successfully represented manufacturers in obtaining a statutory exemption in Virginia to sell electric vehicles (EVs) direct to consumer.
  • Developed and assisted with implementation of policies, procedures and governing agreements in the powersports industry (motorcycle, side-by-side, ATV, motor scooter), including with respect to cutting-edge issues such as automated driving technology.
  • Obtained complete dismissal prior to discovery of all claims against a manufacturer by a service provider that claimed to be a franchised dealer, resulting in termination of the service agreement.
  • Obtained dismissal and judgment on the pleadings at the trial court level on all claims asserted by and against a manufacturer in a long-standing termination case.
  • On behalf of a heavy-duty truck manufacturer, obtained a voluntary termination of three dealership locations and repayment to the client by the dealer of millions of dollars in wrongfully obtained price discounts.
  • Assisted numerous motor vehicle manufacturers with changes in their dealer network through sale, relocation, succession, and agreements to renovate or relocate facilities.
  • Helped an alternative-fuel vehicle maker obtain dealer licenses for its alternate distribution plan in various states, despite the strong opposition of dealer groups and the existence of arguably unfavorable state laws.
  • Defeated an application for injunctive relief brought by a disappointed buyer of a car dealership. The case involved an ambiguous area of state law as to whether the prospective buyer of a dealership could sue the automobile manufacturer for declining to approve the sale.
  • Prevailed on summary judgment in obtaining a declaration of a manufacturer’s right of first refusal (decision of first impression).
  • Updated dealer sales and service agreements and company policies and procedures.
  • Provided analysis on dealer issues, working closely with BakerHostetler real estate and employment lawyers in their areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Performed a 22-state research and analysis project for an equipment manufacturer client to support a dealer rationalization plan that will provide brand unification of two dealer bodies into a single network.
  • Performed nationwide surveys of regulations regarding rights of first refusal, dealership transfers, mandatory facility upgrades, modifications of assigned geographic territory, incentives and related discrimination and antitrust issues, and numerous other legal issues of importance in the industry.
  • Assisted a manufacturer of motorcycles and other powersports equipment in drafting new dealership agreements, standard provisions, and operational policies and procedures, and then rolling out the new documents to dealers.
  • Assisted a heavy-truck manufacturer in withdrawal from the market.
  • In a case of first impression, defeated a dealer protest against modification of an assigned territory based on substandard sales performance within the territory.
  • Resolved numerous disputes before trial, resulting in elimination of underperforming dealers from the market.
  • Assisted numerous manufacturers in the exercise of contractual and/or statutory rights of first refusal.
  • Advised an emergency response vehicle manufacturer in the acquisition of a competing manufacturer and subsequent efforts to harmonize respective dealer networks across the United States and in Canada.
  • Assisting in the development of incentive and bonus programs to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Represented a construction equipment manufacturer in successful termination of an underperforming dealer.
  • Defeated by unanimous vote a protest filed by a member of a dealer commission against the establishment of a competing dealership.
  • Assisted a heavy-truck manufacturer in creating and implementing dealer network policies, branding guidelines and dealership facility standards.

Featured Insights