RD612 - 2022 Biennial Report Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board

Executive Summary:

The 1995 General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted legislation to shift the regulation and oversight of the new and used motor vehicle dealer industry from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to a professional board as described below. In 2015 the General Assembly adopted legislation that moved the oversight and regulation of motorcycle, trailer and recreational dealers from the DMV to the same board.

The Board consists of nineteen members for which the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, appoints eighteen. In order to stagger appointments and ensure continuity, initially, eight members were appointed to two-year terms and nine were appointed to four-year terms.

The statute creating the Board stipulates that ten members shall be licensed franchise (“new") motor vehicle dealers, and seven members shall be independent (“used") dealers. Further, the statute requires that of the seven independent dealers, one shall be primarily engaged in trailer, recreational vehicle or rental vehicle business, and one shall be a licensed independent motorcycle dealer. The last members include an individual who has no direct or indirect interest, other than as a consumer, and the Commissioner of the DMV, who serves as the Board’s chair.

Members of the Board represent all areas of the Commonwealth. In addition, they represent all levels of ownership. Board members include those that own several dealerships to those with small operations and just a few employees. This cross section ensures that all perspectives of the industry have a voice on the Board.

The primary focus of the Board, as mandated by Virginia statute (Chapter 15 of Title 46.2), is to regulate new and used car, motorcycle, trailer and recreational vehicle dealers. This includes certifying and licensing dealers and salespersons. Additionally, the Board administers the Motor Vehicle Transaction Recovery Fund (MVTRF), handles consumer complaints regarding the dealers mentioned, monitors dealer advertising and conducts administrative hearings.

Organizationally, the Board’s staff is divided into two functional areas: Field Operations and Main Office Operations. The field operations consist of a supervisor, based out of Richmond, and twelve field representatives who work out of their “home-offices" located throughout the Commonwealth. The field representatives are responsible for inspecting dealerships, educating dealers, salespersons and consumers. Enforcement becomes necessary only after continued and blatant disregard for Virginia’s motor vehicle laws by licensed dealers.

The number one priority of the Board Operations staff is to review and ensure that all applications meet statutory requirements, to include local zoning ordinances, before processing any applications (initial or renewal) for licensees (dealers and salespersons). This work constitutes the highest volume and work effort for the Operations staff. As part of the licensing process, the Board also issues and renews dealer license plates and decals as authorized by the DMV.