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North Carolina Auto Dealer License Guide

Auto dealer licenses are handled by the License and Theft Bureau in the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The regulation manual is available online. You can find the application form here.

Determine Which Type of License You Need:

  • New Motor Vehicle Dealer
  • Used Motor Vehicle Dealer
  • Wholesaler
  • Distributor
  • Manufacturer

Note: You can find more information about the different types in the regulation manual.


Obtain a Permanent Business Location

The location must have the following requirements:

  • An established salesroom with at least 96 sq ft of floor space (excluding wholesalers)
  • For wholesalers only: An established office with at least 96 sq ft of floor space
  • A sign that has letters of at least three inches in height

Note: Make sure the established office and/or salesroom are in compliance with all state, county and municipal zoning regulations and ordinances.


Attend a Pre-Licensing Course (Used Motor Vehicle Dealers Only)

Used motor vehicle dealers must complete a 12-hour licensing course approved by the DMV before applying for their license. Information on applicable courses is available here.


Obtain Liability Insurance

Comprehensive liability insurance covering your dealer plates is required. Your provider and policy number must be included on your application.


Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond

The cost of a North Carolina auto dealer bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.

  • Fill out our online application form to obtain a free bond quote for your auto dealer license. It takes 5 minutes and you will be able to lock your rate for the next 90 days (in case you want to purchase the bond).

Bond Amount Required:

  • $50,000 for one established salesroom
  • $25,000 for any additional salesrooms

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Compile the Required Documents

  • An assumed business name must be filed with the Register of Deeds in the county where the business is maintained, if the business will be operated under any name different from the owner/s
  • If the business will be conducted as a corporation, you need to file articles of incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State
  • A Trader’s License from the municipality and county must be obtained before filing your application


Arrange for a Business Location Inspection

All dealerships must be inspected and approved by an agent of the License and Theft Bureau before your application is submitted.


Submit Your Dealer License Application

Fill out the application form and pay the fees:

  • $70.00 for each place of business
  • $28.00 per plate for the first five plates
  • $14.00 per plate for additional plates
  • $14.00 per dealer transporter plate
  • $25.00 for 25 temporary markers

Send your completed application to:

North Carolina Department of Transportation
Division of Motor Vehicles
License and Theft Bureau
Raleigh, NC 27697-0001

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