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Motor Vehicle Dealers

FCW Lawyers act for major automotive dealer groups across Australia.

We work exclusively with privately-owned and operated motor dealers in managing their people, property leasing, franchising, consumer law issues and buy/sell transactions.

  • Dealer principal structuring advice and arrangements including equity or shareholder agreements and associated loan, security and employment contracts
  • Franchising advice, strategy, compliance support and documentation
  • Dealer agreement advice including disputes with the franchisor
  • Buy sell transactions for dealership businesses
  • Preparing spare parts supply and distribution agreements
  • Advice concerning customer claims arising under the Australian Consumer Law
  • Commercial and retail property leasing advice and disputes
  • Stand down strategy and disputes
  • Managing and investigating employee misconduct and disputes in the Fair Work Commission and the Federal Court
  • Managing injured employees though workers’ compensation premium management, claim rejection or termination and other fitness for work processes.
  • Managing OHS and Workers’ Compensation prosecution and disputed compliance notice
  • Employee compliance training events tailored specifically for dealership teams and departments covering issues such as, performance management and WHS

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The team is a highly skilled group of consultants to assist in executing complex legal issues.

Paul Evans

Managing Director, Toro Digital

KEY CONTACTS

Principal Lawyer and Head of Commercial

Senior Consultant

Senior Consultant

Industry Insights

In August 2020, Australia recorded 29 consecutive months of declining new car sales. While the industry was already experiencing a sustained downturn prior to COVID-19, unquestionably the pandemic has accelerated this decline.

The forecasted trajectory of new car sales is unlikely to change post-COVID-19. The fear of public transport and low new car stock availability due to the closure of manufacturing plants overseas have heightened the demand for used car sales and value, but this is a short-term rise unlikely to be maintained.

Motor dealers will be further impacted by:

  • The proposed ASIC Intervention order prohibiting add-on insurance at time of sale. Dealers heavily rely on their F&I team to maintain their already slim profit margin on new car sales and are concerned the proposed change will result in onerous or complex obligations and added costs
  • The risk of more manufacturers undertaking direct sales (like with Tesla) or restructuring or rationalising their business model, like Mercedes-Benz Australia and Honda Australia.

The industry is hopeful that the introduction of specific motor dealer provisions into the Franchising Code of Conduct on 1st June 2020 that address practices relating to capital expenditure requirements and renewal and termination arrangements, is the first major step in a much needed overhaul of the legislative and regulatory system governing dealer businesses. Major amendments to the Code and other laws are required to better address the unique characteristics of dealer businesses and some of the unfair practices dealers experience in their relationship with their distributor.

FCW Lawyers has extensive experience assisting motor dealers on all their business requirements ranging from selling and buying dealerships to their property leasing requirements and disputes with the franchisor. We are invested in the dealer industry and trusted by leading corporate advisers who are experts in the automotive industry. From our experience helping dealers sell large multi franchise dealerships, we have the capabilities and industry specific knowledge to support dealers through each step of a sale transaction from the offer and due diligence stage through to completion.

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