The Federal Trade Commission held a one-day public workshop on January 19, 2016, 9 am - 5:30 pm, to explore competition and related issues in the context of state regulation of motor vehicle distribution, and to promote more informed analysis of how these regulations affect businesses and consumers. The workshop, consisting of presentations and discussion, focused on the following topics: (1) the regulation of dealer location; (2) laws relating to reimbursement for warranty services; (3) restrictions on manufacturers’ ability to engage in direct sales to consumers; and (4) new developments affecting motor vehicle distribution, such as autonomous vehicles, connected cars, and the rise of subscription-based automobile sharing services.
If current press reports are accurate, big changes may be coming soon to the ways people use automobiles. As new technologies such as autonomous vehicles, connected cars and car sharing services become more prevalent, how might existing regulatory structures need to change? What will these new ways of using automobiles mean for the traditional, franchised distribution system in place today? How should the interests of competition and consumers be protected?