FADA welcomes PSC’s recommendation for Franchise Protection Act for auto dealers

There have been several examples since 2017 where auto manufacturers have announced their exit from India leaving auto dealers high and dry, the most recent one being Harley-Davidson.

By:December 22, 2020 2:40 PM
harley davidson dealershipImage for representational purposes only

The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) today said that the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) headed by Dr. K Keshava Rao has recommended that the Government of India should come out with Franchise Protection Act for Auto Dealers. This recommendation was part of suggestions made by the Standing Committee in its Report Number 303 titled “Downturn in Automobile Sector-Its Impact and Measures for Revival”.

Read the full statement from FADA welcoming the PSC’s recommendation below:

India does not have a Franchisee Law at present due to which the OEM – Dealer agreements are highly skewed towards manufacturers. This leads to a tussle in managing dealership operations in various ways, very short terms agreements, and the non-existence of a clearly defined exit policy. Many developed countries like Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Albania, Russia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Italy, Sweden, and Belgium now have such rules to protect the franchisee’s which started with the USA introducing the same in the 1980s, Vinkesh Gulati, FADA President, said.

There are various examples where Auto Manufacturers suddenly announced their exit from India leaving Auto Dealers high and dry with their investments going down the drain. Few examples of such exits since 2017 are General Motors India, Man Trucks (a VW Group Company), UM Lohia, and Harley Davidson India.

Also read: Only 10 Harley-Davidson dealerships absorbed by Hero MotoCorp: H-D’s offer vs what dealers want

Franchise laws will actually level the playing field between large automakers and local dealers. Currently, almost all auto dealerships are privately owned proprietorships or family-owned businesses. Meanwhile, large automobile manufacturers are some of the biggest corporations in India and overseas. Because of the disparity in size and power between individual dealers and manufacturers, the Government needs to accept the Standing Committee Recommendation and bring in Franchise Protection Act to level the playing field between Auto OEMs and Auto Dealers.

Therefore, a fair competition Franchisee Act will not be just a win-win for both the Auto OEMs and Auto Dealers, it will also be beneficial to customers in long run. It will also provide continuing and necessary reliable services to the consuming public and also provide stable employment to the people the dealership employs and skills in the community without displacing them from their home locations.”

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