Rex Floyd of Norman found himself at the center of a small storm of
And, that small storm threatens to become a full-fledged
Floyd, who owns and operates recreational vehicle dealerships in
the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, received a temporary license to
sell Toter tow vehicles for fifth-wheel trailers.
However, that license expires when he sells the one vehicle he
has in stock.
Toter tow vehicles are converted pickups manufactured by
Carriage Inc. of Millersburg, Ind., a company which already is
licensed to sell motorhomes and travel trailers in Oklahoma.
The action was taken Tuesday by the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle
Commission as a stop-gap measure pending a study on state laws and
rules and regulations covering conversion vehicles.
Executive Director Noel Kruger was authorized to begin the
proposed rules change process by researching other states' laws
dealing with similar issues. Public hearings also are planned on the
subject. No date was set for these.
While the issue, at first glance, appears to be fairly
clear-cut, there is a lot of controversy surrounding it.
The issue is basic, Floyd said, during a hearing before the
commission. It's simply a question of whether a company has the
right to sell its products in Oklahoma, whether his dealership has
the right to handle that product and whether consumers have a right
to buy that product.
"It's more a matter of taxation than basic rights," said
commission attorney John Rothman of Tulsa. "The issue we are
considering is whether a dealer should be allowed to have a license
to sell this motor vehicle and have a tax exemption."
According to state law and commission regulations, Rothman said,
a dealer must be authorized by the chassis manufacturer to perform
certain pre-delivery procedures and post-sale warranty work. Floyd
is not authorized by the pickup manufacturer to perform such work,
The issue revolves around the question of what constitutes a
conversion or secondary manufacturer of a motor vehicle.
Under current regulations a company which performs conversions
on vehicles, such as vans, places its name on the vehicle and sells
it through its own dealer network.
"Our real question here," said Commissioner Mike Johnson of
Kingfisher, "is what degree of work is required for a vehicle to
become a conversion?"
That question must be answered, Yoder said, because more
recreational vehicle manufacturers are studying designs similar to
Carriage's because of public demand.
"Within a few years," he said, "all (recreational vehicle)
dealers here (in Oklahoma) will need some specialty tow unit.
"Consumers want something like a trailer they can pull, then
park and unhitch and drive away. This will provide competition to
the motorhomes which require owners to pull a separate car behind
them if they want freedom after they park."
Consumer demand will force manufacturers to build this type of
specialty tow unit, Yoder said.
"If they can't buy it in Oklahoma, they'll go out of state for
it," he said. "This will mean that Oklahoma will lose revenues not
only on the tow vehicle but the trailer also, because with the price
of these, buyers want to buy them as a single unit."
Refusing dealer licenses would put Oklahoma business people at a
disadvantage, Floyd said.
"We can still sell the vehicles," he said. "It would just mean
that we would have to buy them, pay taxes and tag them, then sell
them as used vehicles.
"That would be double taxation and raise the price. It means
that we would not have level competition with dealers in other
While the issue has been limited thus far to vans which have
been converted into recreational vehicles by modifying the interior
and adding equipment, more and more conversions are involving other
types of vehicles. …