Automotive Industry

Quarles & Brady's cross‐disciplinary Automotive & Motor Vehicle Team brings together the knowledge of more than 25 lawyers across a half dozen practice groups. This team is led by practitioners with deep experience in industry specific issues such as dealer networks, distribution and market representation strategies, and dealer disputes. Together, this team provides comprehensive transactional, regulatory, and litigation services for vehicle manufacturers, OEMs, and other players in this rapidly evolving industry.

Automotive Franchise & Distribution

Our Automotive Franchise & Distribution team consists of lawyers, paralegals, and support staff whose careers revolve around the automotive and motor vehicle industry. Collectively, these professionals have decades of experience representing industry participants, from start‐ups and boutique manufacturers to long‐standing manufacturers and iconic brands. Notably, our automotive franchise and distribution team lawyers draw support from the firm's Franchise & Distribution practice, named the 2019 Law Firm of the Year in Franchise Law by Best Lawyers and the U.S. News Media Group.

Dealer Networks

A significant focus for our team is counseling manufacturer clients with respect to dealer network matters. We assist manufacturers in network matters including:

  • Large‐scale dealer network initiatives
  • Forming new distribution subsidiaries
  • Preparing and issuing new dealer agreements
  • Launching new vehicle lines and networks
  • Creating operating standards and policies


Once dealer networks are created, we also counsel manufacturers on the day‐to‐day business management necessary to maintain the network, as well as wide ranging distribution issues, including:

  • Selection and appointment of dealers and dealer principals
  • Creation of facility and corporate identification standards
  • Development of dealer incentive programs
  • Implementation of vehicle allocation systems
  • Sales and distribution of fleet vehicles and non‐homologated products
  • Management of customer treatment initiatives
  • Practical methods for approaching and resolving individual dealer and complex market issues
  • Establishment of vehicle pricing
  • Marketing and advertising practices
  • Regulatory compliance and licensing

Market Representation Strategies

We help manufacturers develop and implement market representation strategies at the national and local levels. Our attorneys have led several successful manufacturer initiatives aimed at improving dealer network performance. In addition, we assist clients in addressing related emerging issues, including:

  • Manufacturer direct sales
  • Private equity dealership ownership
  • Rights of first refusal
  • Development of software and social media platforms
  • Motor vehicle e‐commerce

Advertising & Marketing

We assist manufacturers with all manner of advertising and marketing issues, including:

  • Compliance with the FTC Act and published FTC guidance
  • Substantiating claims for traditional advertising and PR communications
  • Social media and native advertising, including the FTC's ".com Disclosures" guide
  • Drafting and negotiating marketing and promotional contracts
  • Development of policies such as minimum allowable advertised price (MAAP) policies
  • Designing sweepstakes, contests, and loyalty programs

Commercial Contracts

Our team has deep experience drafting and negotiating industry‐specific commercial contracts including:

  • Manufacturer's representative agreements
  • Dealership establishments
  • Supply agreements
  • Vehicle warranties
  • Vehicle maintenance and service agreements
  • Confidentiality and non‐disclosure agreements
  • Terms and conditions of sale and purchase
  • Power purchase agreements
  • Third‐party legal opinions
  • Vehicle components incorporating autonomous features

Dealership Disputes

Manufacturers rely on us to handle their dealership disputes nationwide. Our attorneys have litigated dealership matters in federal, state, bankruptcy, and administrative courts across more than 25 states. We have served as lead trial counsel in contested evidentiary proceedings and as lead counsel in appellate proceedings. These disputes have involved a broad array of issues, including:

  • Dealership establishments, relocations, transfers, and terminations
  • Dealership bankruptcies
  • Constitutional challenges to state statutes for motor vehicle franchises, which our attorneys have won before multiple state supreme courts
  • Dealer challenges to manufacturer programs and metrics
  • Proposed buy‐sell and relocation arrangements
  • Unfair allocation and market encroachment issues
  • Alleged vicarious liability for dealer conduct
  • Disputes with service providers and other third‐party providers
  • Alleged violations of the Dealer Day in Court Act

Autonomous & Connected Vehicles

We have invested time and effort researching and understanding issues implicated by the industry's move toward autonomous and connected vehicles. Clients count on our long history of experience and forward‐thinking mindset to stay abreast of the impact expected from the arrival of autonomous vehicles. We provide proactive answers on issues ranging from the regulatory landscape to insurance issues, including:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Risk counseling
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Joint development agreements
  • Licensing
  • Data breach and data security preparation and response
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