Practice Areas & Industries: Greenberg Traurig, LLP


Automotive Dealerships Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

In today’s highly competitive U.S. automotive market, manufacturers and dealers alike are making fundamental changes in the way they do business. The retail automotive industry has always been multifaceted, and the legal and business issues that are part of a successful business cross many disciplines. Compounding an already complicated business reality are changing market forces that affect automakers, suppliers, vendors and consumers. In addition, many state legislatures are trying to widen the scope of regulatory controls over franchise matters, facility obligations, ongoing consumer relationships, establishments of new dealer points, vehicle allocations, warranty repairs, used vehicle sales and other aspects of the business. Greenberg Traurig’s automotive dealership team works with dealers around the country, providing counsel on the legal and business issues dealers face in a recovering industry where change is an every-day factor.

We have significant experience with managing dealership acquisitions and sales, working on real estate matters, dealership facility projects structuring retail operations, structuring and implementing finance relationships, advising on manufacturer and vendor relationships, and administering employee benefit plans. Our wide-ranging industry experience and the firm’s national resources and reach enable us to offer practical legal services to auto dealers around the country.

Multidisciplinary Legal Services for Auto Dealers

  • Buying and selling dealerships (asset or stock deals)
  • Real estate sales, leasing and development
  • Dealership floor plan, term or real estate financing
  • Employment law (including litigation and preventative education)
  • Employee compensation/ERISA
  • Tax issues
  • Land-use and environmental issues
  • Vendor contracts
  • Manufacturer relationships
  • State franchise law
  • Consumer complaints and litigation
  • Succession and estate planning
  • Compliance with the Patriot Act and related legislation

Dealership Acquisitions and Sales

  • Represent multiple-franchise, often multiple-state, dealers in buying and selling dealerships around the country
  • Negotiate transactions involving multiple-point operations, as well as multiple points in multiple states
  • Handle key components of the deals, from asset and stock purchases and sales to disposition, mortgage, floor plan and capital improvement financing to real property acquisition and/or leasing

Structuring Dealership and Subsidiary Retail Operations

  • Lead dealers through the potential maze of red tape created by licensing and manufacturer contract issues and various reporting or record keeping requirements under federal or state laws
  • Advise on corporate governance matters and contract agreements
  • Establish tailor-made ownership agreements
  • Create and administer employee benefits programs for dealerships

Auto Dealer Litigation

  • Defend dealers against consumer and employee claims, such as financing issues or discrimination charges
  • Defend against tax issues and class action suits
  • Assist negotiations with manufacturer requirements for showroom remodeling and upgrades
  • Offer preventative counsel to help clients avoid future litigation

Active Involvement in Industry and Dealer Organizations

  • Significant relationships with accounting, operational and service professionals in the industry
  • Working relationships with most major traditional and non-traditional lenders and finance sources in the industry
  • One of our Florida shareholders is a principal and licensed dealer in several new car dealerships in Florida and the Midwest
  • The firm is a member of the National Association of Dealer Counsel
  • Our presence in Washington, D.C. enables us to work with clients in streamlining access to federal government contracts on a national and regional scale


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