Iowa legislators are about to wade into a fight among the state’s auto dealers. State law actually establishes territories for auto dealerships. It’s turned into a sort of insurance to peddle a particular brand of vehicles, ensuring a competiting dealer won’t set up shop nearby. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says as Iowa’s population has shifted, so have many car and truck dealerships. “There’s a dispute in the industry about whether or not a dealer can move within his assigned territory very, very close to another dealer’s assigned territory, thereby infringing upon their sales territory (and) clients after they’ve made a substantial investment,” Rants says. “It’s causing a lot of upheaval within the (auto) industry in Iowa.” House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says a bill pending in the House would establish new rules about how car dealers can move within their territory. Gipp says the ultimate goal is to protect consumers who see their local auto dealer pulling up stakes and moving closer to an urban area. “You need to continue to have (an) auto dealer network across…Iowa that not only allows you the opportunity to buy cars, but also receive the service work,” he says. Gipp says there’s a law on the books that sets out territories for farm implement dealers, too. A bill dealing with this issue is scheduled for debate this week in a House committee.
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