Is a dealer group is allowed to advertise cars for sale on its website that is not located at its lot?

Brian Nieves
I need some help. I was asked a question today that I did not know the answer. We are in Virginia. Do you know if a dealer group is allowed to advertise cars for sale on its website that is not located at its lot? Thanks Brian Nieves Tri-State Nissan Winchester, VA 22602
Steve Devereaux
Why wouldn't you be allowed? I never heard of any laws about that.
Jim Radogna
Hi Brian, Here's a passage from the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board's "MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER ADVERTISING PRACTICES AND ENFORCEMENT REGULATIONS": "If a specific vehicle is advertised, the seller shall be in possession of a reasonable supply of said vehicles and they shall be available at the advertised price. If the advertised vehicle is available only in limited numbers or only by order, that shall be stated in the advertisement." So, it would seem that if the vehicles are available by order only or are located elsewhere, these facts would need to be disclosed in the advertisement. If the advertised vehicles are not actually available for sale, it would likely be considered "bait advertising", which is illegal under both Virginia and federal laws. Hope this is helpful.
Chris K.
Jim said it, "Otherwise stated" is the obvious answer to your question, unless Virginia business law prevents such actions. So if for instance, you are marketing a car for a customer via consignment, then you would want to specify and disclose that inside the ad, clearly. Also for new cars, If for example you are advertising a base car, which you clearly would sell the second they arrived on the lot because they are so cheap and such a great deal; you would want to say "subject to actual availability, may require factory order, color ad equipment may vary, and so forth". It's been my experience, the best results happen when honesty is the best policy. Still way too many dealers pissing off the general public, and I ******* hate that! If you can't be honest selling cars, this is the wrong business to work in, especially now. Aside from that, sounds like you've got some plans to expose your product and yourself to the masses. Good Selling!
Jim Bell
I think if you advertise something that isn't on your lot or in transit from the factory, you may be walking on eggshells. Not only that, if the customer comes in and you don't have access to that vehicle, you are likely to tick that customer off. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have it there or is in transit to you. Your dealership's reputation is on the line.
Steve Devereaux
I'm not sure why you are asking this question, BUT we have done it on several instances. We have sold some classic cars that we sell for a classic car collector. We have advertised it without the vehicle being here. You simply write 'appointment needed to see this vehicle' in the description. Now, if you want to try to trick people into coming to see a vehicle that isn't there... Not a good idea, let's leave it at that.

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