Dealer franchise bill passes another hurdle in California

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California Gov. Jerry Brown would have until Sept. 30 to veto or sign the bill into law if it is approved.

A wide-ranging California bill that would change the state’s dealer franchise law is one step closer to passage after approval by the state Senate Wednesday night. The measure awaits a vote of the state Assembly.

Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, which is lobbying for the legislation, said he is “optimistic” the Assembly will pass the bill before the California Legislature recesses at midnight Friday.

A previous version of the bill had passed the Assembly in May.

“We’re obviously not counting anything before it’s achieved but we’re optimistic that the Senate and the Assembly are going to approve the measure this week,” Maas told Automotive News on Wednesday.

If approved, California Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to veto or sign the bill into law. If no action is taken, the bill becomes law.

If the bill is not approved by the full Legislature, the association, which represents 1,300 franchised new-car dealers, would have to push to have the bill reintroduced in 2019.

The bill contains a wide range of provisions that the dealer association says would enhance California’s franchise laws, particularly regarding what it calls “inappropriate treatment of dealers by manufacturers.” Topics addressed in the legislation include dealer-factory competition, manufacturer spinoffs and affiliates, warranty reimbursement, facilities mandates and performance standards and incentives.

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