This excerpt taken from the AN 10-K filed Feb 17, 2010.
Our operations are subject to extensive governmental laws and regulations. If we are found to be in violation of or subject to liabilities under any of these laws or regulations, or if new laws or regulations are enacted that adversely affect our operations, our business, operating results, and prospects could suffer.
The automotive retailing industry, including our facilities and operations, is subject to a wide range of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, such as those relating to motor vehicle sales, retail installment sales, leasing, sales of finance, insurance, and vehicle protection products, licensing, consumer protection, consumer privacy, escheatment, money laundering, environmental, vehicle emissions and fuel economy, health and safety, wage-hour, anti-discrimination, and other employment practices. With respect to motor vehicle sales, retail installment sales, leasing, and the sale of finance, insurance, and vehicle protection products at our stores, we are subject to various laws and regulations, the violation of which could subject us to consumer class action or other lawsuits or governmental investigations and adverse publicity, in addition to administrative, civil, or criminal sanctions. The violation of other laws and regulations to which we are subject also can result in administrative, civil, or criminal sanctions against us, which may include a cease and desist order against the subject operations or even revocation or suspension of our license to operate the subject business, as well as significant fines and penalties. We currently devote significant resources to comply with applicable federal, state, and local regulation of health, safety, environmental, zoning, and land use regulations, and we may need to spend additional time, effort, and money to keep our operations and existing or acquired facilities in compliance therewith. In addition, we may be subject to broad liabilities arising out of contamination at our currently and formerly owned or operated facilities, at locations to which hazardous substances were transported from such facilities, and at such locations related to entities formerly affiliated with us.
Although for some such liabilities we believe we are entitled to indemnification from other entities, we cannot assure you that such entities will view their obligations as we do or will be able to satisfy them. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, and prospects.
The enactment of new laws and regulations that materially impair or restrict our sales, finance and insurance, or other operations could also have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, and prospects. We expect that new laws and regulations, particularly at the federal level, in the labor, environmental, and consumer protection areas will be enacted, which could significantly increase our costs. Of particular note, proposed federal legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act (the EFCA) could substantially liberalize the procedures for union organization and enable third party arbitrators to impose collective bargaining agreement terms on us in the event that we are unable to agree upon a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union. Passage of the EFCA could lead to increased unionization efforts, which could lead to higher labor costs, disrupt our store operations, and reduce our profitability. In addition, certain proposed federal health care legislation contains employer mandates that could substantially increase the health care costs for our employees and also lead to higher labor costs and reduce our profitability. Additionally, a recently enacted federal law that enables dealers to seek reinstatement through arbitration of automotive franchises that were terminated in connection with the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies could also adversely impact us by increasing our competition and causing Chrysler and General Motors to be less efficient.