House Committee Hears Testimony on Santora’s Bill to Protect Consumers and Local Businesses
HARRISBURG – Rep. James R. Santora (R-Delaware) and other members of the House Professional Licensure Committee heard from stakeholders about a bill that would amend the Board of Vehicles Act to address issues with unrepaired recalls, prohibit manufacturers from requiring dealers to significantly modify facilities within a decade of a prior modification and establish a temporary license for new vehicle dealers.

Currently, car manufacturers are required to make reimbursement payments to dealers when manufacturers prohibit sale of vehicles that have been recalled until corrective measures are taken at an annualized rate of 12 percent, or 1 percent monthly. The bill would change the amount to an annualized rate of 21 percent, or 1.75 percent monthly, which is consistent with a federal law.

“In such cases as this one, where a bill could significantly impact such a large group of Pennsylvania residents, it’s wise to hear the opinions not only of groups that support the legislation, but also of those who oppose it,” Santora said. “In doing so, we can put the most effective version of a bill up for vote.”

Wayne Weikel, senior director of state government affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, suggested modifying the bill to add a grace period before the payments must be made as an acknowledgement that vehicles without recalls can sit on a lot for 45-60 days before being sold.

The bill would also require that new and used vehicle dealers make vehicle purchases aware of any open, unrepaired recalls. Mark Stine, vice president of legislative and public affairs for the Pennsylvania Automotive Association explained that the information can be obtained by entering a vehicle’s VIN number on, and Weikel shared that the alliance is working to create a program to allow thousands of VINs to be entered at once so manufacturers would be saved the time to enter each one individually.

Another important piece of the bill would prohibit manufacturers from requiring franchisee dealers to significantly modify their dealership facilities unless a decade has passed since the construction or last major renovation of the facility. The prohibition would not apply if the modification is necessary to comply with a health or safety law, or technology requirement that is necessary to sell or service a vehicle.

Differences arose about what period of time would be appropriate before renovations should be allowed, with Weikel suggesting the bill be amended to allow renovations after seven years.

“Amending the bill to address an abbreviated timeframe, such as seven years, would jeopardize our small business owners. We can assume that the large companies have the money to pay for remodels just seven years later, but the men and women who own a dealership or two would be challenged to pay what could easily amount to a $1 million bill in just seven years. Typically, loans lasting at least a decade are issued,” Santora explained. “I do not want to hurt our small businesses owners by making this change.”

The bill would also establish a temporary license for new vehicle dealers that would allow them to conduct business for up to 60 days while the request to do business is considered. The change would help dealers, sales people and mechanics to get to work up to two months sooner. It would also permit the sale of vehicles sooner, therefore resulting in the collection of accompanying taxes for the benefit of the state budget.

“I will consider the points raised in today’s discussion as I, of course, am interested in improving the bill however possible,” Santora added.

Representative James R. Santora
163rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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