TITLE XXXI
TRADE AND COMMERCE

CHAPTER 357-C
REGULATION OF BUSINESS PRACTICES BETWEEN MOTOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND DEALERS

Section 357-C:1

    357-C:1 Definitions. –
For the purpose of this chapter only:
I. " Motor vehicle " means every self-propelled vehicle manufactured and designed primarily for use and operation on the public highways and required to be registered and titled under the laws of New Hampshire. Motor vehicle shall include equipment if sold by a motor vehicle dealer primarily engaged in the business of retail sales of equipment. Except for RSA 357-C:3, I-b, and where otherwise specifically exempted from the provisions of this chapter, " motor vehicle " shall include off highway recreational vehicles and snowmobiles. " Equipment " means farm and utility tractors, forestry equipment, industrial equipment, construction equipment, farm implements, farm machinery, yard and garden equipment, attachments, accessories, and repair parts.
II. " Manufacturer " means any person who manufactures or assembles new motor vehicles or any partnership, firm, association, joint venture, corporation or trust which is controlled by the manufacturer. " Manufacturer " shall also mean a distributor, distributor branch, factory, factory branch, and franchisor.
III. "Factory branch" means a branch office maintained by a manufacturer for the purpose of selling or offering to sell vehicles to a distributor, wholesaler, or new motor vehicle dealer, or for directing or supervising, in whole or in part, factory or distributor representatives, and shall include any sales promotion organization which is engaged in promoting the sale of a particular make of new motor vehicles in this state to new motor vehicle dealers.
IV. "Distributor branch" means a branch office maintained by a distributor which sells or distributes new or used motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers.
V. "Factory representative" means a representative employed by a manufacturer, distributor, or factory branch for the purpose of making or promoting the sale of its new motor vehicles or for supervising, servicing, instructing or contracting with its new motor vehicle dealers or prospective dealers.
VI. "Distributor representative" means a representative employed by a distributor branch or distributor.
VII. "Distributor" means any person who sells or distributes new or used motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers or who maintains distributor representatives within this state.
VIII. (a) " Motor vehicle dealer " means any person engaged in the business of selling, offering to sell, soliciting or advertising the sale of new or used motor vehicles or possessing motor vehicles for the purpose of resale either on his or her own account or on behalf of another, either as his or her primary business or incidental thereto. " Motor vehicle dealer " means a person granted the right to service motor vehicles or component parts manufactured or distributed by the manufacturer but does not include any person who has an agreement with a manufacturer or distributer to perform service only on fleet, government, or rental vehicles. However, "motor vehicle dealer" shall not include:
(1) Receivers, trustees, administrators, executors, guardians, or other persons appointed by or acting under judgment, decree or order of any court; or
(2) Public officers while performing their duties as such officers.
(b) " New motor vehicle dealer " means a motor vehicle dealer who holds a valid sales and service agreement, franchise or contract granted by the manufacturer or distributor for the sale, service, or both, of its new motor vehicles, but does not include any person who has an agreement with a manufacturer or distributer to perform service only on fleet, government, or rental vehicles.
(c) The term "motor vehicle dealer" shall not include a single line equipment dealer. " Single line equipment dealer " means a person, partnership, or corporation who is primarily engaged in the business of retail sales of farm and utility tractors, forestry equipment, industrial and construction equipment, farm implements, farm machinery, yard and garden equipment, attachments, accessories, and repair parts, and who:
(1) Has purchased 75 percent or more of the dealer's total new product inventory from a single supplier; and
(2) Has a total annual average sales volume for the previous 3 years in excess of $100,000,000 for the relevant market area for which the dealer is responsible.
IX. " Franchise " means one or more oral or written agreements under or by which:
(a) The franchisee is granted the right to sell new motor vehicles or component parts manufactured or distributed by the franchisor or the right to service motor vehicles or component parts manufactured or distributed by the manufacturer but does not include any person who has an agreement with a manufacturer or distributer to perform service only on fleet, government, or rental vehicles;
(b) The franchisee as an independent business is a component of the franchisor's distribution or service system;
(c) The franchisee is granted the right to be substantially associated with the franchisor's trademark, trade name or commercial symbol;
(d) The franchisee's business is substantially reliant for the conduct of its business on the franchisor for a continued supply or service of motor vehicles, parts, and accessories; or
(e) Any right, duty, or obligation granted or imposed under this chapter is affected.
X. "Franchisor" means a manufacturer or distributor who grants a franchise to a motor vehicle dealer.
XI. "Franchisee" means a motor vehicle dealer to whom a franchise is granted.
XII. "Sale" means the delivery, issuance, transfer, agreement for transfer, exchange, pledge, hypothecation, or mortgage in any form of motor vehicle or interest therein or of any related franchise; and any option, subscription or other contract, or solicitation in contemplation of a sale, offer or attempt to sell, whether spoken or written.
XIII. "Fraud" includes, in addition to its common law connotation, the misrepresentation, in any manner, of a material fact; a promise or representation not made honestly and in good faith, and an intentional failure to disclose a material fact.
XIV. "Person" means a natural person, corporation, partnership, trust or other entity, and, in case of an entity, it shall include any other entity in which it has a majority interest or effectively controls as well as the individual officers, directors and other persons in active control of the activities of each such entity.
XV. " New motor vehicle " means a motor vehicle which is in the possession of the manufacturer or distributor, or has been sold only to the holders of a valid sales and service agreement, franchise or contract granted by the manufacturer or distributor for the sale of that make of new motor vehicle and which is in fact new and on which the original title, to the extent a title is required by the state of New Hampshire, has not been issued from the franchised dealer.
XVI. " Good faith " means honesty in fact and the observation of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing in the trade as is defined and interpreted in RSA 382-A:1-201(b)(20).
XVII. "Established place of business" means a permanent, enclosed commercial building located within this state easily accessible and open to the public at all reasonable times and at which the business of a new motor vehicle dealer, including the display and repair of vehicles, may be lawfully carried on in accordance with the terms of all applicable building codes, zoning, and other land-use regulatory ordinances.
XVIII. " Designated family member " means the spouse, child, grandchild, parent, brother, sister, or lineal descendent, including all adopted or step descendents, of the owner of a new motor vehicle dealership who has been designated in writing to the manufacturer, and, in the case of the owner's death, is entitled to inherit the ownership interest in the new motor vehicle dealership under the terms of the owner's will or under the rights of inheritance by intestate succession, or who, in the case of an incapacitated owner of a new motor vehicle dealership, has been appointed by a court as the legal representative of the new motor vehicle dealer's property. The manufacturer, distributor, factory branch or factory representative or importer may request, and the designated family member shall provide, upon request, personal and financial data that is reasonably necessary to determine whether the succession should be honored.
XIX. "Dealer organization" means a state or local trade association, the membership of which is comprised predominantly of motor vehicle dealers.
XX. "Coerce" means the failure to act in a fair and equitable manner in performing or complying with any terms or provisions of a franchise or agreement; provided, however, that recommendation, persuasion, urging or argument shall not be synonymous with "coerce" or lack of "good faith."
XXI. "Relevant market area" means any area within the town or city where the motor vehicle dealer maintains his place of business or the area, if any, set forth in a franchise or agreement, whichever is larger. Relevant market areas shall be determined in accordance with the principles of equity.
XXII. "Direct import vehicle" has the same meaning as that of RSA 259:19-a.
XXIII. " Assemble " means engaging in the fitting or adding of parts and/or accessories to new motor vehicles or the substitution of parts contributing to changes in the appearance, performance, or use of vehicles, other than that which is done by new motor vehicle dealers.
XXIV. " OHRV " means off highway recreational vehicle.
XXV. " Off highway recreational vehicle " means any mechanically propelled vehicle used for pleasure or recreational purposes running on rubber tires, tracks, or cushioned air and dependent on the ground or surface for travel, or other unimproved terrain whether covered by ice or snow or not, where the operator sits in or on the vehicle. All legally registered motorized vehicles when used for off highway recreational purposes shall fall within the meaning of this definition; provided that, when said OHRV is being used for transportation purposes only, it shall be deemed that said OHRV is not being used for recreational purposes. For purposes of this chapter OHRVs shall also include: "all terrain vehicle" as defined in RSA 215-A:1, I-b, and "trail bike" as defined in RSA 215-A:1, XIV. OHRVs shall not include snowmobiles as defined in paragraph XXVI and RSA 215-C:1.
XXVI. " Snowmobile " means any vehicle propelled by mechanical power that is designed to travel over ice or snow supported in part by skis, tracks, or cleats. Only vehicles that are no more than 54 inches in width and no more than 1200 pounds in weight shall be considered snowmobiles under this chapter. "Snowmobile" shall not include OHRVs as defined in paragraph XXV or RSA 215-A.
XXVII. " Line make " means motor vehicles that are offered for sale, lease, or distribution under a common name, trademark, service mark, or brand name of the franchisor or manufacturer of the motor vehicle.
XXVIII. " Component part " means an engine, power train, rear axle, or other part of a motor vehicle that is not warranted by the final manufacturer.
XXIX. " Component manufacturer " means a person who manufactures or assembles motor vehicle component parts that are directly warranted by the component manufacturer to the consumer.
XXX. " Chargeback " means a manufacturer induced return of warranty, incentive, or reimbursement payments to a manufacturer by a dealer. The term includes a manufacturer drawing or an announced intention to draw funds from an account of a dealer.

Source. 1981, 477:2. 1986, 117:6. 1990, 84:1. 2001, 209:1. 2002, 215:4-6. 2005, 210:54, 55. 2006, 169:15. 2007, 372:3, eff. July 18, 2007. 2009, 20:1-3, eff. May 6, 2009. 2013, 130:1-5, eff. Sept. 23, 2013.