Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Blocking Most Direct-to-Consumer Auto Sales

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

florida governor ron desantis signs bill blocking most direct to consumer auto sales

Dealer franchise laws are controversial at best and downright divisive in most cases, but they remain a significant force in the automotive industry despite the political noise surrounding them. Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis recently joined the fray when he signed House Bill 637, legislation that blocks direct auto sales for most brands but not all. 

As Inside EVs pointed out, the bill’s language prohibits direct-to-consumer sales by automakers. However, those that don’t already have existing franchise agreements can, so brands like Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and others. While that won’t be a significant change from the current automotive retail situation, the law could give those automakers a competitive advantage over legacy companies, as it lets them sell vehicles at lower prices without covering dealers’ overhead.

Calls to revise or nix dealer franchise laws have become louder recently, as car buyers have felt the wrath of inflation, supply chain shortages, and extreme demand for some models. Those conditions have given dealers an open door to raise prices on new and used vehicles, which has led some to question why automakers can’t bypass dealers and sell directly to consumers.

Dealer franchise laws prevent that in most cases. They are designed to protect buyers, and the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) notes that they can also benefit manufacturers. While those claims are open to debate, the net effect on the average car buyer is that the choice is to buy from an established auto brand at a dealership or buy from an upstart EV company at a direct store.

There’s certainly a case to be made that local dealers play an important role in service and product support. Still, the remote service and mostly digital support programs offered by companies like Rivian have earned relatively solid reviews, and the brands’ customers are among the happiest respondents in surveys. 

[Image: Hunter Crenian via Shutterstock]

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2 of 31 comments
  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jun 19, 2023

    Of course Tesla is exempted from the latest big government move; Musk is funding the lunatic's campaign.

  • Any carmaker that wants to sell direct-to-customer just has to create a new brand that only sells direct-to-customer.

    There are so many idiots in politics, probably because any sane person would know better than to enter politics. In Florida it's worse - any sane person would stay the hell away from that state.

  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines. https://www.drive.com.au/reviews/2023-ineos-grenadier-review/
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.