Kia Motors Am., Inc. v. Glassman Oldsmobile Saab Hyundai, Inc., No. 12-1202 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Glassman is a car dealer in Southfield, Michigan and an authorized Kia dealer, under an Agreement that states that Glassman’s rights are not exclusive. Glassman agreed to assume certain responsibilities in its Area of Primary Responsibility, an area undefined in the Agreement, but agreed “that it has no right or interest in any [Area of Primary Responsibility] that [Kia] may designate” and that “[a]s permitted by applicable law, [Kia] may add new dealers to … the [Area of Primary Responsibility].” Michigan’s Motor Dealers Act grants car dealers certain limited territorial rights, even when the dealer has a nonexclusive franchise, and requires manufacturers to provide notice to an existing dealer before establishing a new dealer within a certain distance of the existing dealer’s location. Receipt of notice gives the existing dealer a cause of action to challenge the proposed new dealer. Kia and Glassman entered into their Agreement in 1998, when the distance for notice was 6 miles. A 2010 amendment increased the distance to 9 miles. The district court found that the parties did not agree to comply with the 2010 Amendment and that the 2010 Amendment is not retroactive. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that the 6-mile distance applies.