November 22, 2007
California dealer takes Nissan to court over dealership relocation
Sacramento, California – A Sacramento-area automobile dealer is taking Nissan to court, alleging that the automaker is violating California law by forcing dealers to relocate near Honda and Toyota stores before selling their dealerships.
Gary A. Hamner will be heard in Superior Court on November 26, after nearly a decade-long battle with Nissan. Hamner claims that Nissan cost him millions of dollars by imposing unreasonable requirements before he could sell his dealership, according to the lawsuit.
Hamner alleges that Nissan required him to purchase the land he was leasing for his auto dealership and told him he would lose his franchise if he did not. After he bought the land and notified Nissan that he planned to sell the dealership, Nissan told him that any buyer would have to agree to move the dealership so that it was located near Honda and Toyota dealerships in nearby Stockton, the lawsuit says.
“Nissan’s actions cost Mr. Hamner and his companies millions of dollars,” said Michael Sieving, Hamner’s attorney. “He purchased the land where his dealership was located only to be told by Nissan that, if he sold the dealership, it had to move. Buyers who were interested in buying the dealership refused to agree to Nissan’s added conditions. California law specifically protects owners of auto franchises against unreasonable demands such as those imposed by Nissan.”
Sieving, who specializes in representing auto dealers, said Nissan has made it a practice to withhold its approval on dealership sales if the buyers do not agree to move the dealership to be near Honda and Toyota dealerships.