Can car OEMs sell direct to consumers?

I found a statement on a web site that I find very… odd.

" By law, a manufacturer may not sell a car to an individual; it must be sold through a dealer."

What the heck kinda’ law would that be?
I mean, if automakers CHOOSE to only deal with dealers, that’s their privilege… but the government legislating that just sounds danged silly, not to mention unAmerican.


I don’t see why this would be illegal, un-American or anything like that.

Since Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce, and I have no doubts that automobiles would be considered such, there could be a multitude of reasons for such a law.

I wonder where they get their information. I know some European makers (Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen) can arrange a buying trip to the factory and you get to see your car being built.

We’re getting GD here, but it seems like an unreasonable restraint of trade.
The US government generally only gets involved in restricting trade when there is some articulable reason for doing so.
Is there some public welfare, public safety, etc reason for prohibiting a carmaker from following a “Dell Computers” distribution model?
Surely it couldn’t be to make sure that I have a middle man to watch out for my interests. That certainly doesn’t describe 99% of the dealerships I’ve been to.

So you want to do something like drive to Flint and pick your car up right when it comes off the line? You don’t want to go to Fred’s GM Shack in Hooterville?

You just want them to leave the car out back and you bring them a big check and you drive it home?

I don’t know if that would be feasible unless it were a really small manufacturer.

There are a million ways they could handle delivery, but that’s really not the point here. I can’t see congress telling me that I shouldn’t waste my time driving to Michigan if I really feel like it.
They could also… just deliver surplus along with their shipments to larger direct consumers. Imagine me arranging for the car to sit at an Enterprise Car Rental storage lot until I pick it up. GM would be making huge shipments to them periodically anyway.

All the major european brands do it however by volume they produce far less cars then say Honda, ford or Chevrolet. I don’t see why this can’t be done so long as you’re there on the day you say you will be.

The only reason I can think of for this law is someone lobbied for it.

Don’t nearly all of the manufacturers own or franchise the dealerships? It’s not like they are losing money on the deal.

It’s obviously they’re preferred distribution model.

Maybe true, but thats still doesn’t explain why it is legislated.

To buy a Porsche in Europe, you go through the dealer. I don’t know about other brands. Most states don’t allow manufacturers to own dealerships. And yes, most of these laws have been tested in federal court.

This is called “Vamping until the star arrives”; in this case the star is a real live lawyer with expertise in contract law.

Until then:

A new car dealer is under contract to the manufacturer - the deal is:

Franchisee (dealer) pays manfacturer big bucks, in return, the dealer gets exclusive marketing rights for a specified area. I don’t know how the pie is divided when there are multiple dealers in the same large city.

I doubt that ‘illegal’ in this use is being used to mean ‘prohibited by government’ (laws or other civil and/or criminal prohibitions); it is probably (my guess, without seeing the phrase in context) being used to mean ‘breach of private contract’. A valid contract is enforceable by the courts.
Think of it this way: Judge Judy (and the rest) do not render criminal verdicts - only real, live courts can do that. JJ et. al. hear (very petty) contract (or less) disputes - these are the only type of suit that can be withdrawn (generally, generally) by consent of the litigants - the Govt. is not going to turn a criminal OR civil action over to such “courts”.