Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
9/22/2019

Article 7.4. Motorcycle Franchises.

§ 46.2-1573.25. Motorcycle dealers filing of franchises.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, each motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof shall file with the Commissioner a true copy of each new, amended, modified, or different form or addendum offered to more than one dealer that affects the rights, responsibilities, or obligations of the parties of a franchise or sales, service, or sales and service agreement to be offered to a motorcycle dealer or prospective motorcycle dealer in the Commonwealth no later than 60 days prior to the date the franchise or sales agreement is offered. In no event shall a new, amended, modified, or different form of franchise or sales, service, or sales and service agreement be offered a motorcycle dealer in the Commonwealth until the form has been determined by the Commissioner as not containing terms inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter. At the time a filing is made with the Commissioner pursuant to this section, the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary shall also give written notice together with a copy of the papers so filed to the affected dealer or dealers.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or factory or distributor representative engaged in the manufacture or distribution of all-terrain vehicles or off-road motorcycles that does not also manufacture or does not also distribute in the Commonwealth any motorcycle designed for lawful use on the public highways.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.64; 2003, c. 334; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.26. Exemption of franchises from Retail Franchising Act.

Franchises subject to the provisions of this chapter shall not be subject to any requirement contained in Chapter 8 (§ 13.1-557 et seq.) of Title 13.1.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.65; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.27. Coercion of retail dealer by manufacturer or distributor with respect to retail installment sales contracts and extended warranties prohibited; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any manufacturer or distributor, or any officer, agent, or representative of either, to coerce or attempt to coerce any retail motorcycle dealer or prospective retail motorcycle dealer in the Commonwealth to sell or offer to sell extended warranties or to sell, assign, or transfer any retail installment sales contract obtained by the dealer in connection with the sale by him in the Commonwealth of motorcycles manufactured or sold by the manufacturer or distributor, to a specified finance company or class of finance companies or to any other specified persons by any of the following:

1. Any statement, suggestion, promise, or threat that the manufacturer or distributor will in any manner benefit or injure the dealer, whether the statement, suggestion, threat, or promise is expressed or implied or made directly or indirectly.

2. Any act that will benefit or injure the dealer.

3. Any contract, or any expressed or implied offer of contract, made directly or indirectly to the dealer, for handling the motorcycle on the condition that the dealer sell, assign, or transfer his retail installment sales contract on the motorcycle, in the Commonwealth, to a specified finance company or class of finance companies or to any other specified person.

4. Any expressed or implied statement or representation made directly or indirectly that the dealer is under any obligation whatsoever to sell, assign, or transfer any of his retail sales contracts in the Commonwealth on motorcycles manufactured or sold by the manufacturer or distributor to a finance company, or class of finance companies, or other specified person, because of any relationship or affiliation between the manufacturer or distributor and the finance company or companies or the specified person.

B. Any such statements, threats, promises, acts, contracts, or offers of contracts, when their effect may be to lessen or eliminate competition or tend to create a monopoly, are declared unfair trade practices and unfair methods of competition and are prohibited.

C. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.66; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.28. Other coercion of dealers; transfer, grant, succession to and cancellation of dealer franchises; delivery of motorcycles, parts, and accessories.

It shall be unlawful for any manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch, or any field representative, officer, agent, or their representatives:

1. To coerce or attempt to coerce any dealer to accept delivery of any motorcycle or motorcycles, parts or accessories therefor, or any other commodities that have not been ordered by the dealer.

2. To coerce or attempt to coerce any dealer to enter into an agreement with the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch, or representative thereof, or do any other act unfair to the dealer, by threatening to cancel any franchise existing between the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or representative thereof and the dealer.

3. To coerce or attempt to coerce any dealer to join, contribute to, or affiliate with any advertising association.

4. To prevent or refuse to approve the sale or transfer of the ownership of a dealership by the sale of the business, stock transfer, or otherwise, or the transfer, sale, or assignment of a dealer franchise, or a change in the executive management or principal operator of the dealership, unless the franchisor provides written notice to the dealer of its objection and the reasons therefor at least 30 days prior to the proposed effective date of the transfer, sale, assignment, or change. No such objection shall be effective to prevent the sale, transfer, assignment, or change if the Commissioner has determined, if requested in writing by the dealer within 30 days after receipt of an objection to the proposed sale, transfer, or change, and after a hearing on the matter, that the failure to permit or honor the sale, transfer, assignment, or change is unreasonable under the circumstances. No franchise may be sold, assigned, or transferred unless (i) the franchisor has been given at least 90 days' prior written notice by the dealer as to the identity, financial ability, and qualifications of the proposed transferee and (ii) the sale or transfer of the franchise and business will not involve, without the franchisor's consent, a relocation of the business.

5. To grant an additional franchise for a particular line-make of motorcycle in a relevant market area in which a dealer or dealers in that line-make are already located unless the franchisor has first advised in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, all other dealers in the line-make in the relevant market area. No such additional franchise may be established at the proposed site unless the Commissioner has determined, if requested by a dealer of the same line-make in the relevant market area within 30 days after receipt of the franchisor's notice of intention to establish the additional franchise, and after a hearing on the matter, that there is reasonable evidence that after the grant of the new franchise, the market will support all of the dealers in that line-make in the relevant market area. Establishing a franchised dealer in a relevant market area to replace a franchised dealer that has not been in operation for more than two years shall constitute the establishment of a new franchise subject to the terms of this subdivision. The two-year period for replacing a franchised dealer shall begin on the day the franchise was terminated or, if a termination hearing was held, on the day the franchisor was legally permitted finally to terminate the franchise. This subdivision shall not apply to (i) the relocation of an existing dealer within that dealer's relevant market area if the relocation site is to be more than 10 miles distant from any other dealer for the same line-make; (ii) the relocation of an existing dealer within that dealer's relevant market area if the relocation site is to be more distant than the existing site from all other dealers of the same line-make in that relevant market area; or (iii) the relocation of an existing new motorcycle dealer within two miles of the existing site of the relocating dealer.

6. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision and notwithstanding the terms of any franchise, to terminate, cancel, or refuse to renew the franchise of any dealer without good cause and unless (i) the dealer and the Commissioner have received written notice of the franchisor's intentions at least 60 days prior to the effective date of such termination, cancellation, or the expiration date of the franchise, setting forth the specific grounds for the action, and (ii) the Commissioner has determined, if requested in writing by the dealer within the 60-day period, and after a hearing on the matter, that there is good cause for the termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal of the franchise. In any case where a petition is made to the Commissioner for a determination as to good cause for the termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise, the franchise in question shall continue in effect pending the Commissioner's decision or, if that decision is appealed to the circuit court, pending the decision of the circuit court. In any case in which a franchisor neither advises a dealer that it does not intend to renew a franchise nor takes any action to renew a franchise beyond its expiration date, the franchise in question shall continue in effect on the terms last agreed to by the parties. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision, notice of termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal may be provided to a dealer by a franchisor not less than 15 days prior to the effective date of such termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal when the grounds for such action are any of the following:

a. Insolvency of the franchised motorcycle dealer or filing of any petition by or against the franchised motorcycle dealer, under any bankruptcy or receivership law, leading to liquidation or that is intended to lead to liquidation of the franchisee's business;

b. Failure of the franchised motorcycle dealer to conduct its customary sales and service operations during its posted business hours for seven consecutive business days, except where the failure results from acts of God or circumstances beyond the direct control of the franchised motorcycle dealer;

c. Revocation of any license that the franchised motorcycle dealer is required to have to operate a dealership; or

d. Conviction of the dealer or any principal of the dealer of a felony.

The change or discontinuance of a marketing or distribution system of a particular line-make product by a manufacturer or distributor, while the name identification of the product is continued in substantial form by the same or different manufacturer or distributor, may be considered to be a franchise termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to changes and discontinuances made after January 1, 1989, but they shall not be considered by any court in any case in which such a change or discontinuance occurring prior to that date has been challenged as constituting a termination, cancellation, or nonrenewal.

7. To fail to provide continued parts and service support to a dealer that holds a franchise in a discontinued line-make for at least five years from the date of such discontinuance. This requirement shall not apply to a line-make that was discontinued prior to January 1, 1989.

8. To fail to allow a dealer the right at any time to designate a member of his family as a successor to the dealership in the event of the death or incapacity of the dealer. It shall be unlawful to prevent or refuse to honor the succession to a dealership by a member of the family of a deceased or incapacitated dealer if the franchisor has not provided to the member of the family previously designated by the dealer as his successor written notice of its objections to the succession and of such person's right to seek a hearing on the matter before the Commissioner pursuant to this article, and the Commissioner determines, if requested in writing by such member of the family within 30 days of receipt of such notice from the franchisor, and after a hearing on the matter before the Commissioner pursuant to this article, that the failure to permit or honor the succession is unreasonable under the circumstances. No member of the family may succeed to a franchise unless (i) the franchisor has been given written notice as to the identity, financial ability, and qualifications of the member of the family in question and (ii) the succession to the franchise will not involve, without the franchisor's consent, a relocation of the business.

9. To fail to ship monthly to any dealer, if ordered by the dealer, the number of new motorcycles of each make, series, and model needed by the dealer to receive a percentage of total new motorcycle sales of each make, series, and model equitably related to the total new motorcycle production or importation currently being achieved nationally by each make, series, and model covered under the franchise. Upon the written request of any dealer holding its sales or sales and service franchise, the manufacturer or distributor shall disclose to the dealer in writing the basis upon which new motorcycles are allocated, scheduled, and delivered to the dealers of the same line-make. If allocation is at issue in a request for a hearing, the dealer may demand the Commissioner to direct that the manufacturer or distributor provide to the dealer, within 30 days of such demand, all records of sales and all records of distribution of all motorcycles to the same line-make dealers who compete with the dealer requesting the hearing.

10. To require or otherwise coerce a dealer to underutilize the dealer's facilities.

11. To include in any franchise with a motorcycle dealer terms that are contrary to, prohibited by, or otherwise inconsistent with the requirements of this chapter.

12. To require under any franchise agreement a motorcycle dealer to pay the attorney fees of the manufacturer or distributor related to hearings and appeals brought under this article.

13. To fail to include in any franchise with a motorcycle dealer the following language: "If any provision herein contravenes the laws or regulations of any state or other jurisdiction wherein this agreement is to be performed, or denies access to the procedures, forums, or remedies provided for by such laws or regulations, such provision shall be deemed to be modified to conform to such laws or regulations, and all other terms and provisions shall remain in full force," or words to that effect.

14. To include in any franchise agreement with a motorcycle dealer terms that prohibit a motorcycle dealer from exercising his right to a trial by jury in any action where such right otherwise exists.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.67; 1997, c. 802; 2010, c. 610; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.29. When discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of franchise unfair.

A discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement is unfair if it is not clearly permitted by the franchise agreement, is not undertaken in good faith, is not undertaken for good cause, or is based on an alleged breach of the franchise agreement that is not in fact a material and substantial breach.

1997, c. 802, § 46.2-1993.67:1; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.30. Repurchase of vehicles, parts, and equipment in the event of involuntary discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of franchise agreement.

A. In the event of any involuntary discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement, the manufacturer or distributor shall, within 60 days from the effective date of the discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement, repurchase at the price equal to the amount paid therefor by the motorcycle dealer, less all incentives and allowances received by the dealer, (i) all new, unused, undamaged, and unaltered motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, or off-road motorcycles of the current or previous model year that the manufacturer or distributor sold to the dealer and (ii) any other such motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, or off-road motorcycle that it sold to the dealer not more than 180 days prior to the notice of termination. The foregoing provisions of this subsection shall apply only if the dealer transfers to the manufacturer or distributor full right and legal title to the motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and off-road motorcycles prior to their repurchase.

B. In the event of any involuntary discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement, the manufacturer or distributor shall, if so requested by the dealer within the same 60-day period, also repurchase all genuine new and unused motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, and off-road motorcycle parts and accessories that the manufacturer or distributor sold to the dealer so long as such parts and accessories are undamaged, in their original packaging, and listed in the current parts and accessories price list of the manufacturer or distributor. Such parts and accessories shall be repurchased at a price equal to the wholesale price stated in the current parts and accessories price list of the manufacturer or distributor, less all incentives and allowances received by the dealer and without reduction for such repurchase or for processing or handling the repurchase. The foregoing provisions of this subsection shall apply only if the dealer transfers to the manufacturer or distributor full right and legal title to the parts and accessories prior to their repurchase.

C. In the event of any involuntary discontinuation, cancellation, or nonrenewal of a franchise agreement, the manufacturer or distributor shall, if so requested by the dealer within the same 60-day period, repurchase the new and used equipment that the manufacturer or distributor sold to the dealer at its then fair market value, including signs, special tools, and manuals that the manufacturer or distributor required the dealer to purchase. The foregoing provisions of this subsection shall apply only if the dealer transfers to the manufacturer or distributor full right and legal title to the equipment prior to its repurchase.

2004, c. 107, § 46.2-1993.67:2; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.31. Manufacturer or distributor right of first refusal.

Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise agreement, in the event of a proposed sale or transfer of a dealership, the manufacturer or distributor shall be permitted to exercise a right of first refusal to acquire the new motorcycle dealer's assets or ownership, if such sale or transfer is conditioned upon the manufacturer's or dealer's entering into a dealer agreement with the proposed new owner or transferee, only if all the following requirements are met:

1. To exercise its right of first refusal, the manufacturer or distributor must notify the dealer in writing within 45 days of its receipt of the completed proposal for the proposed sale or transfer;

2. The exercise of the right of first refusal will result in the dealer's and dealer owner's receiving the same or greater consideration as they have contracted to receive in connection with the proposed change of ownership or transfer;

3. The proposed sale or transfer of the dealership's assets does not involve the transfer or sale to a member or members of the family of one or more dealer owners, or to a qualified manager or a partnership or corporation controlled by such persons; and

4. The manufacturer or distributor agrees to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees that do not exceed the usual, customary, and reasonable fees charged for similar work done for other clients, incurred by the proposed new owner and transferee prior to the manufacturer's or distributor's exercise of its right of first refusal in negotiating and implementing the contract for the proposed sale or transfer of the dealership or dealership assets. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no payment of such expenses and attorney's fees shall be required if the dealer has not submitted or caused to be submitted an accounting of those expenses within 30 days of the dealer's receipt of the manufacturer's or distributor's written request for such an accounting. Such accounting may be requested by a manufacturer or distributor before exercising its right of first refusal.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.68; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.32. Discontinuation of distributors.

If the contract between a distributor and a manufacturer or importer is terminated or otherwise discontinued, all franchises granted to motorcycle dealers in the Commonwealth by that distributor shall continue in full force and shall not be affected by the discontinuance, except that the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, representative, or other person who undertakes to distribute motorcycles of the same line-make or the same motorcycles of a renamed line-make shall be substituted for the discontinued distributor under the existing motorcycle dealer franchises, and those franchises shall be modified accordingly.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.69; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.33. Warranty obligations.

A. Each motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch shall (i) specify in writing to each of its motorcycle dealers licensed in the Commonwealth the dealer's obligations for preparation, delivery, and warranty service on its products and (ii) compensate the dealer for warranty parts, service, and diagnostic work required of the dealer by the manufacturer or distributor as follows:

1. Compensation of a dealer for warranty parts, service, and diagnostic work shall not be less than the amounts charged by the dealer for the manufacturer's or distributor's original parts, service, and diagnostic work to retail customers for nonwarranty service, parts, and diagnostic work installed or performed in the dealer's service department unless the amounts are not reasonable;

2. For purposes of determining warranty parts and service compensation, menu-priced parts or services, group discounts, special event discounts, and special event promotions shall not be considered in determining amounts charged by the dealer to retail customers;

3. Increases in dealer warranty parts and service compensation and diagnostic work compensation, pursuant to this section, shall be requested by the dealer in writing, shall be based on 100 consecutive repair orders or all repair orders over a 90-day period, whichever occurs first, and, in the case of parts, shall be stated as a percentage of markup that shall be uniformly applied to all the manufacturer's or distributor's parts;

4. In the case of warranty parts compensation, the provisions of this subsection shall be effective only for model year 1992 and succeeding model years;

5. If a manufacturer or distributor furnishes a part to a dealer at no cost for use by the dealer in performing work for which the manufacturer or distributor is required to compensate the dealer under this section, the manufacturer or distributor shall compensate the dealer for the part in the same manner as warranty parts compensation, less the wholesale costs, for such part as listed in the manufacturer's current price schedules. A manufacturer or distributor may pay the dealer a reasonable handling fee instead of the compensation otherwise required by this subsection for special high-performance complete engine assemblies in limited production motorcycles that constitute less than five percent of model production furnished to the dealer at no cost, if the manufacturer or distributor excludes such special high-performance complete engine assemblies in determining whether the amounts requested by the dealer for warranty compensation are consistent with the amounts that the dealer charges its other retail service customers for parts used by the dealer to perform similar work; or

6. In the case of service work, manufacturer original parts or parts otherwise specified by the manufacturer or distributor, and parts provided by a dealer either pursuant to an adjustment program as defined in § 59.1-207.34 or as otherwise requested by the manufacturer or distributor, the dealer shall be compensated in the same manner as for warranty service or parts.

Warranty audits of dealer records may be conducted by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch on a reasonable basis, and dealer claims for warranty compensation shall not be denied except for good cause, such as performance of nonwarranty repairs, lack of material documentation, fraud, or misrepresentation. Claims for dealer compensation shall be paid within 30 days of dealer submission or within 30 days of the end of an incentive program or rejected in writing for stated reasons. The manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch shall reserve the right to reasonable periodic audits to determine the validity of all such paid claims for dealer compensation. Any chargebacks for warranty parts or service compensation and service incentives shall only be for the 12-month period immediately following the date of the claim and, in the case of chargebacks for sales compensation only, for the 18-month period immediately following the date of claim. However, such limitations shall not be effective in the case of intentionally false or fraudulent claims.

B. It shall be unlawful for any motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch to:

1. Fail to perform any of its warranty obligations, including tires, with respect to a motorcycle;

2. Fail to assume all responsibility for any liability resulting from structural or production defects;

3. Fail to include in written notices of factory recalls to motorcycle owners and dealers the expected date by which necessary parts and equipment will be available to dealers for the correction of defects;

4. Fail to compensate any of the motorcycle dealers licensed in the Commonwealth for repairs effected by the dealer of merchandise damaged in manufacture or transit to the dealer where the carrier is designated by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch;

5. Fail to compensate its motorcycle dealers licensed in the Commonwealth for warranty parts, work, and service pursuant to subsection A or for legal costs and expenses incurred by such dealers in connection with warranty obligations for which the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch is legally responsible or that the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch imposes upon the dealer;

6. Misrepresent in any way to purchasers of motorcycles that warranties with respect to the manufacture, performance, or design of the motorcycle are made by the dealer, either as warrantor or co-warrantor;

7. Require the dealer to make warranties to customers in any manner related to the manufacture, performance, or design of the motorcycle; or

8. Shift or attempt to shift to the motorcycle dealer, directly or indirectly, any liabilities of the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch under the Virginia Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act (§ 59.1-207.9 et seq.), unless such liability results from the act or omission by the dealer.

C. Notwithstanding the terms of any franchise, it shall be unlawful for any motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch to fail to indemnify and hold harmless its motorcycle dealers against any losses or damages arising out of complaints, claims, or suits relating to the manufacture, assembly, or design of motorcycles, parts, or accessories, or other functions by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch beyond the control of the dealer, including, without limitation, the selection by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch of parts or components for the motorcycle or any damages to merchandise occurring in transit to the dealer where the carrier is designated by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch. The dealer shall notify the manufacturer of pending suits in which allegations are made that come within this subsection whenever reasonably practicable to do so. Every motorcycle dealer franchise issued to, amended, or renewed for motorcycle dealers in the Commonwealth shall be construed to incorporate provisions consistent with the requirements of this subsection.

D. On any new motorcycle, any uncorrected damage or any corrected damage exceeding three percent of the manufacturer's or distributor's suggested retail price as defined in 15 U.S.C. §§ 1231-1233, as measured by retail repair costs, must be disclosed to the dealer in writing prior to delivery. Factory mechanical repair and damage to tires are excluded from the three percent rule when properly replaced by identical manufacturer's or distributor's original equipment or parts. Whenever a new motorcycle is damaged in transit, when the carrier or means of transportation is determined by the manufacturer or distributor, or whenever a motorcycle is otherwise damaged prior to delivery to the new motorcycle dealer, the new motorcycle dealer shall:

1. Notify the manufacturer or distributor of the damage within three business days from the date of delivery of the new motorcycle to the new motorcycle dealership or within the additional time specified in the franchise; and

2. Request from the manufacturer or distributor authorization to replace the components, parts, and accessories damaged or otherwise correct the damage, unless the damage to the motorcycle exceeds the three percent rule, in which case the dealer may reject the motorcycle within three business days.

E. If the manufacturer or distributor refuses or fails to authorize correction of such damage within 10 days after receipt of notification, or if the dealer rejects the motorcycle because damage exceeds the three percent rule, ownership of the new motorcycle shall revert to the manufacturer or distributor, and the new motorcycle dealer shall have no obligation, financial or otherwise, with respect to such motorcycle. Should either the manufacturer, distributor, or the dealer elect to correct the damage or any other damage exceeding the three percent rule, full disclosure shall be made by the dealer in writing to the buyer and an acknowledgment by the buyer is required. If there is less than three percent damage, no disclosure is required, provided the damage has been corrected. Predelivery mechanical work shall not require a disclosure. Failure to disclose any corrected damage within the knowledge of the selling dealer to a new motorcycle in excess of the three percent rule shall constitute grounds for revocation of the buyer order, provided that, within 30 days of purchase, the motorcycle is returned to the dealer with an accompanying written notice of the grounds for revocation. In case of revocation pursuant to this section, the dealer shall accept the motorcycle and refund any payments made to the dealer in connection with the transaction, less a reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the motorcycle as defined in § 59.1-207.11.

F. If there is a dispute between the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch and the dealer with respect to any matter referred to in subsection A, B, or C, either party may petition the Commissioner in writing, within 30 days after either party has given written notice of the dispute to the other, for a hearing. The decision of the Commissioner shall be binding on the parties, subject to rights of judicial review and appeal as provided in the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). However, nothing contained in this section shall give the Commissioner any authority as to the content or interpretation of any manufacturer's or distributor's warranty.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.70; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.34. Operation of dealership by manufacturer.

It shall be unlawful for any motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof to own, operate, or control any motorcycle dealership in the Commonwealth. However, this section shall not prohibit:

1. The operation by a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof of a dealership for a temporary period, not to exceed one year, during the transition from one owner or operator to another;

2. The ownership or control of a dealership by a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof, while the dealership is being sold under a bona fide contract or purchase option to the operator of the dealership; or

3. The ownership, operation, or control of a dealership by a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof if the Commissioner determines, after a hearing at the request of any party, that there is no dealer independent of the manufacturer or distributor, factory branch or distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof available in the community or trade area to own and operate the franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.71; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.35. Ownership of service facilities.

It shall be unlawful for any motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof to own, operate, or control, either directly or indirectly, any motorcycle warranty or service facility located in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof from owning, operating, or controlling any warranty or service facility for warranty or service of motorcycles owned or operated by the manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit a motorcycle manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, or distributor branch from performing service for reasons of compliance with an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or of warranty under Chapter 17.3 (§ 59.1-207.9 et seq.) of Title 59.1.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.72; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.36. Hearings and other remedies; civil penalties.

A. In every case of a hearing before the Commissioner authorized under this article, the Commissioner shall give reasonable notice of each hearing to all interested parties, and the Commissioner's decision shall be binding on the parties, subject to the rights of judicial review and appeal as provided in the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

B. Hearings before the Commissioner under this article shall commence within 90 days of the request for a hearing, and the Commissioner's decision shall be rendered within 60 days from the receipt of the hearing officer's recommendation. Hearings authorized under this article shall be presided over by a hearing officer selected from a list prepared by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court. On request of the Commissioner, the Executive Secretary will name a hearing officer from the list, selected on a rotation system administered by the Executive Secretary. The hearing officer shall provide recommendations to the Commissioner within 90 days of the conclusion of the hearing.

C. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this article, the Commissioner shall initiate investigations, conduct hearings, and determine the rights of parties under this article whenever he is provided information indicating a possible violation of any provision of this article.

D. For purposes of any matter brought to the Commissioner under subdivisions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 of § 46.2-1573.28 with respect to which the Commissioner is to determine whether there is good cause for a proposed action or whether it would be unreasonable under the circumstances, the Commissioner shall consider:

1. The volume of the affected dealer's business in the relevant market area;

2. The nature and extent of the dealer's investment in its business;

3. The adequacy of the dealer's service facilities, equipment, parts, supplies, and personnel;

4. The effect of the proposed action on the community;

5. The extent and quality of the dealer's service under motorcycle warranties;

6. The dealer's performance under the terms of its franchise; and

7. Other economic and geographical factors reasonably associated with the proposed action.

With respect to subdivision 6, any performance standard or program for measuring dealership performance that may have a material effect on a dealer, and the application of any such standard or program by a manufacturer or distributor, shall be fair, reasonable, and equitable and, if based upon a survey, shall be based upon a statistically valid sample. Upon the request of any dealer, a manufacturer or distributor shall disclose in writing to the dealer a description of how a performance standard or program is designed and all relevant information used in the application of the performance standard or program to that dealer.

E. An interested party in a hearing held pursuant to subsection A shall comply with the effective date of compliance established by the Commissioner in his decision in such hearing, unless a stay or extension of such date is granted by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's decision is under judicial review and appeal as provided in subsection A. If, after notice to such interested party and an opportunity to comment, the Commissioner finds an interested party has not complied with his decision by the designated date of compliance, unless a stay or extension of such date has been granted by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's decision is under judicial review and appeal, the Commissioner may assess such interested party a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 per day of noncompliance. Civil penalties collected under this subsection shall be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund established pursuant to § 33.2-1524.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.73; 2000, c. 106; 2015, c. 615.

§ 46.2-1573.37. Late model and factory repurchase franchises.

Franchised late model or factory repurchase motorcycle dealers shall have the same rights and obligations as provided for franchised new motorcycle dealers in this article, mutatis mutandis.

1996, cc. 1043, 1052, § 46.2-1993.74; 2015, c. 615.

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