The intramural conflict between franchised and independent car dealers has flared up again in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables, FL.
The Mercedes-Benz dealer in Coral Gables, Bill Ussery Motors, has taken legal action against a nearby independent, Palmetto Sports Cars Inc., for selling “like new” 2008-model Mercedes vehicles with as few as 57 miles on their odometers.
The Ussery store charged that up to 10 new Mercedes vehicles have been spotted on the Palmetto lot at one time. The dealership filed a complaint with the Florida department of motor vehicles, alleging that Palmetto had not complied with state and manufacturer franchise requirements.
The Ussery complaint also declared that Palmetto, whose owner is Carlos Rios, probably acquired new Mercedes vehicles from outstate dealers and was advising purchasers that the new vehicles were still covered by the Sunshine State's rigid ‘lemon law.’
On Sept. 3, the Ussery complaint said, a 2008-model GL 450 with only 57 miles on its odo was advertised by Palmetto for $57,900.
Following a similar incident involving Jimmy Brian Lexus several years ago in Winter Park, GL, the Florida Automobile Dealers Assn. sponsored legislation that would protect franchised dealers from ‘unfair competition.’ But, according to FADA chief executive Ted Smith, that proposal has been stalled in the legislature under pressure from independent dealers.
Ussery Motors attorney Alex Kurkin, of Miami, said that Palmetto had not as of mid-September responded to the suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction to forbid the independent dealer from selling ‘new’ Mercedes automobiles.