Megadealer Norm Braman’s franchise portfolio includes super-luxury brands Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti. So he is not one to think it is OK to sell cars out of a garage.
But he is challenging in court the way General Motors is carrying out its program to get dealers to build new facilities or upgrade existing ones to conform with uniform designs.
Braman has five stores on the WardsAuto Dealer 500, including Braman Motorcars, a West Palm Beach, FL, outlet occupying the No.2 spot.
Braman’s Cadillac group, No. 453 on the list, is the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging GM’s facility renovations program (Essential Brand Elements) and its denial of incentive-program payments to dealers allegedly violating the auto makers’s requirements for facility enhancement.
Dealers have sued auto makers before, but Braman might be the richest one to do so.
Braman Automotive Group, based in Miami, FL, owns 10 dealerships and ranked No.17 on this year’s WardsAuto Megadealer 100 with total revenues of $1.4 billion and car sales of more than 35,000 units.
Braman is a former owner of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles and possessor of an art collection valued in the millions of dollars.
Braman’s suit accuses GM of violating the Federal Robinson-Patman Act’s ban on 2-tier pricing. He testified GM has withheld more than $400,000 in incentive payments from Braman Cadillac after ruling the dealership failed to comply with the Essential Brand Elements program.
Don Hall, a former Marine who runs the Virginia Automobile Dealers Assn., calls Braman a “hero” for taking on a costly battle against a major auto maker.
“I can afford it,” says Braman, whose estimated net worth is $1.6 billion.