Michigan Adopts RV Specific Franchise Legislation

A new RV specific franchise law, negotiated by the Michigan RV and Campgrounds Association (MARVAC) and RVIA, governing how RV manufacturers, suppliers and dealers conduct business in Michigan, is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2009.

The legislation removes the RV industry from the state’s automotive franchise law and establishes an RV-specific law that addresses key issues critical to the RV industry in a way that takes into account the significant differences between the business models of the RV and automotive industries. Issues included in the law include the requirement for a written manufacturer/dealer agreement and a designated territory; terms for the termination, cancellation, and nonrenewal of the manufacturer/dealer agreement; terms for the repurchase of inventory; terms for the transfer or family succession of a dealership; and, requirements for warranty obligations.

“This is a very solid piece of legislation that is fair and reasonable for both sides,” says Jay Landers, RVIA senior director of government affairs. “We appreciate the leadership MARVAC took on this legislation and the opportunity to work with the association’s members and leadership in developing and passing the bill.”

“Working with RVIA on this bill helped ease the process,” says Tim DeWitt, MARVAC executive director. “They worked with us in good faith, using recent legislation adopted in Florida and a model RV-specific franchise bill as the basis for our legislation that was then tailored to meet our needs and concerns.”

MARVAC and RVIA began work on the legislation in late 2007 at the behest of MARVAC, who wanted to work hand-in-hand to take RVs out of the Michigan automotive franchise law. The bill was stymied in the 2008 legislative session, but sailed through the legislative process when reintroduced in the 2009 session.

With the Dec. 1, 2009 effective date approaching, MARVAC is holding seminars for dealers and manufacturer members to detail the content of the new law and the necessary procedures.

Michigan joins California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon and Virginia as states that have adopted RV specific franchise legislation.