Dealers have entered into dealer agreements with Renault Australia and it seems, expanded dealership facilities over many years. Those dealers would not have contemplated any change to such arrangements without full consultation and an explanation as to how the transfer would be of benefit to the brand or to dealers. This change, once again, demonstrates the weakness of the Franchising Code in protecting dealers.
In view of the loss of market share in recent times, it is likely that in the next few years there will be a reduction of Renault dealers, either:
- as a result of a network review, or
- by some dealers deciding to exit the brand.
All these matters require long and careful consultation in an arrangement of mutual dependency and should not be made by way of unilateral decision as was stated by a dealer in evidence to the Senate Committee last week.
Dealers and the dealer council may be able to rely on the collective bargaining class exemption to approach the new independent distributor to achieve fairer terms of the transferred dealer agreement. For Renault dealers based in NSW there might be redress under Part 6 of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 No 107 in relation to unjust conduct.
If you are a Renault dealer in discussions with Renault or the dealer council, please don’t hesitate to contact our motor dealer team for assistance.