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West Jordan Seeks Entry into Auto Dealership Market

In August of 2013, the City of West Jordan commissioned a retail market study to determine which sections of the retail market were insufficient to meet the need of city residents. This report determined the largest need going unmet in the city, by a significant margin, was motor vehicle sales and services. According to the study, current auto related business in the city only meets 13 percent of the projected total demand, which amounts to $138,016,456 per year which is not spent at West Jordan businesses. 

However, the city’s efforts to attract new motor vehicle businesses have been blocked by Utah state law, which requires the prospective business owner of any potential new car dealership who wishes to locate a dealership within the same county or within 15 miles of an existing dealership of the same brand §13-14-102 to submit their business plans to a board comprised of competing car dealers for review. §13-14-302

Additionally, approval to open a new car dealership in Utah is granted by the Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, an unelected state official appointed by the Governor. §13-14-104 The City has been in contact with several vehicle dealerships, finding some interest among established and well-known dealerships, but who are unwilling to provide their confidential business plans to their competitors.

This situation is relatively unique to West Jordan. In the U.S., there are 289 cities with a population of 100,000
or more. West Jordan is one of only 10 of these cities, or 3.5 percent, without a new car dealer.
The other 10 cities of this size without auto dealerships are located in large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. In Utah, there are 145 new car dealers, which is the equivalent of 20,006 people per dealer. At this rate, West Jordan should be home to five new car dealerships. 


State statute, however, does not reflect current practice or mirror market demand. In Salt Lake County, the distance between dealerships from Salt Lake City to Murray is approximately 7 miles apart, while the distance of dealerships from Murray to Sandy is also 7 miles. In addition, despite being home to approximately 46 percent of the County’s population, the western part of Salt Lake County is home to only 3 of the 47 new car dealers in the County. And there are no new car dealerships south of 3600 South and west of 700 West.

The City is supportive of efforts to reduce state intervention in the free market by eliminating artificial barriers to entry erected by state law, thereby allowing the market the opportunity to function unhindered by burdensome regulations which have served to suppress the motor vehicle sales and services market since the adoption of the Utah New Automobile Dealership Act of 1991.

Utah Fair Trade Website 

Contact the Legislature

Informational Flier

Related News Stories & Supporting Information

Car sales tax could move from dealer's city to buyer's (Salt Lake Tribune Feb. 3, 2015)

City Officials Hoping For Legislative Help In Auto Dealership Prohibition (West Jordan Journal Jan 2015)

Impacts of the New Automobile Dealership Act of 1991

Car Dealership Data

Salt Lake County Car Dealership Map

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