Dealers throughout the United States are riding a wave of dealer-friendly laws. Many of these statutes are to be expected, given a state’s economic priorities: Iowa’s laws predictably protect farm equipment dealers; Wisconsin’s laws protect motorcycle dealers; and Texas’ protect industrial equipment dealers. These industry-specific laws are not surprising, and most manufacturers recognize the risks associated with doing business in these states, given how intertwined the states’ economic fortunes are with these industries.
Some dealer-protection laws, however, do surprise. A marine equipment manufacturer doing business in Utah, for example, should be able to assume that protecting marine equipment dealers is fairly low on the priority list of Utah’s legislature. After all, Utah doesn’t even make the top 20 list for state boating registrations. Nevertheless, as of March 16, 2021, Utah is now home to legislation providing significant protection to marine dealers operating in the state. Marine manufacturers and dealers alike would be wise to familiarize themselves with this new law.
The new legislation creates a brand-new framework (ostensibly modeled off of marine equipment laws in other states) for terminating marine equipment dealerships in Utah – one that may be unfamiliar to many marine equipment manufacturers doing business in the state. Here are the key takeaways:
Utah’s new law represents an important foray into the relationship between marine equipment manufacturers and dealers in the state, and it further confirms that state legislatures are continuing to prioritize legislation that protects dealers regardless of whether the industry is at the forefront of the state’s economy. Marine manufacturers and dealers should take notice and closely monitor legislative activity in other states, regardless of whether those states are reliant on a marine-based economy.