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Judge rejects request to stop auto dealer 'bill of rights'

CONCORD — A Merrimack County judge has rejected a request for a permanent injunction to prevent the auto Dealer Bill of Rights law from taking effect.

Last year, the Legislature passed an amendment to the existing law that was signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan.

John Deere and other equipment manufacturers filed a lawsuit last year, hoping to block key provisions of the law pertaining to farm equipment dealers in New Hampshire. After listening to testimony from both sides, the judge ruled against striking down the law.
The bill changes business practices between manufacturers and their dealers and would give local auto and other vehicle dealers greater flexibility to run their franchises. All other states have similar laws.
“The court was swayed by the testimony of farmers and equipment dealers showing that the manufacturers’ actions have hurt consumers and producers,” said Pete McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association, in a news release. “This is a win for consumers and small businesses.
The bill includes a “buy local” provision, which dealers say will end mandates by auto makers to use out-of-state contractors and suppliers for work. It also calls for transparency in inventory and sales decisions made by auto makers; market-based reimbursement for warranty work done by local dealers; more control for local dealers over decisions regarding major capital expenses, such as showroom renovations and new construction; and incorporates equipment manufacturers and farm equipment dealers into the bill of rights.

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