The AADA supports any action which addresses the effects of the imbalance of power that exists between powerful offshore motor vehicle manufacturers and new car Dealers.
There is a power imbalance in the automotive industry between car Manufacturers (franchisors) and franchised new car Dealers (franchisees) that disadvantages both dealership businesses and consumers who purchase new vehicles from Dealers. Many Dealers enjoy good relations with their respective Manufacturers and work in a mutually beneficial partnership, but there remain many instances where Dealers are subjected to unfair and potentially unlawful treatment.
The franchising code of conduct only offers limited protection to new car Dealers. For a variety of reasons, car Dealers are pressured into entering agreements which contain oppressive contractual clauses and unfavourable termination, non-renewal and/or end-of-term arrangements.
Franchised new car Dealers are very different from the typical franchisees in terms of the scale of their investments and the nature of their business. Similarly, car Manufacturers are also very different from the typical franchisors in terms of scale, as they are very powerful offshore multinational corporations.
In recent years, the Government has introduced various automotive-specific protections into the Franchising Code. While this is a very welcome development, the new protections do not apply to truck, motorcycle or farm machinery Dealers – a situation which desperately needs to be remedied. Furthermore, the AADA remains concerned that Dealers do not have the same level of protection compared to their counterparts in the US and Europe.
The AADA will continue to pursue changes which guarantee security of tenure and fit for purpose dispute resolution mechanisms. Other areas of work include extending unfair contract term provisions, the ability to collectively bargain and improved processes for indemnification.