Thursday, June 1, 2023


Maryland considers law for RV dealer franchise agreements

New legislation introduced in the Maryland General Assembly in March would establish a regulatory framework for recreational vehicle manufacturers, distributors, factory branches, and dealers. The bill has been referred to by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) as a “Franchise Bill,” and the trade group says that the law would “improve the relationship between RV dealers and manufacturers.”

The legislative framework includes state licensing requirements for recreational vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and branches of RV factories that act as retail outlets. Current laws that cover automotive vehicle manufacturers do not apply to manufacturers of recreational vehicles. The bill establishes procedures, timelines, and requirements that govern written dealer agreements, warranties on recreational vehicles, and when damages or unreasonable miles are apparent on delivery of a recreational vehicle.

If enacted, the law will require that a manufacturer may not transfer any new recreational vehicle to a dealer or distributor in the state of Maryland unless the manufacturer is licensed by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) in the manner outlined in the bill.

In addition, no person may conduct the business of a factory branch of a recreational vehicle manufacturer unless MVA licenses the person.

A “Factory Branch” within the meaning of the Franchise Bill is a branch office of a manufacturer from which the manufacturer sells or promotes sales of a particular brand or make of new recreational vehicles to RV dealers in Maryland, or directs and supervises the manufacturer’s representatives, supervises or contacts dealers or prospective dealers.

Surety bonds and good faith requirements

The measure further requires that a manufacturer or distributor, upon notice of approval of its application for a license and before the license is issued, must file with MVA a surety bond based on the number of new recreational vehicles placed by the manufacturer or distributor with retail dealers in Maryland during the preceding year.

No more casual dealer agreements

An RV manufacturer or distributor would be prohibited from selling a recreational vehicle in Maryland to or through a dealer without having first entered into a written dealer agreement that both parties have signed. This is similar to the franchise agreements established by automobile dealerships with manufacturers nationwide. And similarly, a manufacturer must designate the duration of the dealer agreement and the area of sales exclusively assigned to a dealer in the contract and may not make changes to the terms without the mutual written consent of both parties.

The bill specifies that a manufacturer must provide adequate repair instructions to licensed dealers.

Specific requirements for executing warranty agreements for preparation, delivery, and after-sale warranty services are included.

The measure under consideration in Maryland is an RV industry model bill that would formalize and codify the relationship between RV manufacturers and dealers and has the support of the RVIA and other RV industry trade groups.

RVers can expect these legislative initiatives to turn up in a similar form in more states as interest in the development of uniform state OEM franchise codes increases.


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Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.


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1 month ago

Reads like higher costs for buyers of RV’s in Maryland. Total costs of the bill to industry passed on to the RV buyer. I wonder if it results in a better product for the money or just more “Red Tape?”

1 month ago

Good article…hard to believe it’s good for consumers if the RV industry is behind it though. Hopefully it is. Would need a lot more info on what consumer protections/benefits are inherent in it.

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