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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dealers cannot be prevented from selling online

My friends at Dreyfus & associés in Paris have blogged about an important decision of the Autorité de la concurrence in a matter involving Bang & Olufsen and their selective distribution network. B&O tried to stop dealers selling online, and were (not very surprisingly) hit with a penalty of €900,000. The blog posting is here: Do read it! Alternatively, you might prefer

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Mercedes-Benz and three dealers to pay £2.6 million for competition law breaches

The OFT announced today that Mercedes-Benz and three of its commercial vehicle dealers, Ciceley, Road Range and Enza, have admitted infringing competition law and agreed to pay fines totalling £2.6 million. Another dealer, Northside, will benefit from the leniency policy that encourages whistle-blowing without which cartels would be difficult to detect. The infringements involve classic cartel activity: market sharing, price coordination and exchange of commercially sensitive information, not necessarily all at the same time. However, there is no mention of criminal charges, which are a possibility where cartels are involved: a Mercedes executive was arrested when the investigation into the cartel was started, but never charged (see earlier post here).

You can read the full press release issued by the OFT here.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Repair and maintenance information

Having been poking round the Commission website, I have come across this page dealing with the vexed topic of repair and maintenance information, or - ironically - RMI for short. Just thought readers might find it useful to have the link.

EP to vote on noise reduction

Next week, Members of the European Parliament will vote on noise reduction for motor vehicles. European Voice publishes encouragement to MEPs to support the proposal from the Environment Committee, and not to dilute it any further. Further (background) information on the Commission website here.

Auto 24 case: final decision from the French courts

The Auto 24 case, which I wrote about here, came back to the French courts from its short trip to Luxembourg and on 15 January 2013 the Cour de Cassation ruled that Jaguar Land Rover France was entitled to limit the number of dealers appointed to its selective distribution network in France.

The Cour de Cassation followed the Court of Justice's ruling, rejecting Auto 24's argument that JLR's limit on the number of its distributors restricted competition. The court stated that no legislation or regulation, national or EU, requires a manufacturer to justify its decision to draw up a numerus clausus as a criterion for quantitative selection. The clause in suit expressly limited the netwok to 72 dealership contracts for 109 sites, so it constituted a specified criterion whose content could be verified - which is what the Court of Justice said was needed. The supplier's freedom to define the scope and composition of its network therefore seems to be safe.

More details from Van Bael and Bellis via Mondaq (for which you might need a free subscription) here.