Fleet News

Six week wait ahead for price inquiry report

THE Competition Commission's long-awaited report on the new car pricing in the UK and on the continent will not be made public before the end of the year. The commission's New Cars Inquiry is due to pass its findings on to Stephen Byers, Trade and Industry Secretary on Thursday, December 16.

He is not expected to be in a position to comment until at least six weeks later, when the commission's report is expected to be published. Manufacturers have also been expressing their concern at the commission's ability to meet its December deadline and voiced their fears at a closed meeting with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. An SMMT spokesman said: 'They are concerned that the commission is still asking questions on a number of key issues, such as block exemption, and there is widespread concern about how fast and effectively it will be able to turn the information around in time for the 16th.'

This week it emerged that the New Cars Inquiry had written to manufacturers informing them of an EU Council amendment that allows individual member states to withdraw a block exemption if it is being abused. The initial remedies statement focused heavily on the application of the selective and exclusive block exemption in the UK, raising the prospect that the Competition Commission's report to the Department of Trade and Industry could recommend that the Government withdraws the Block Exemption prior to its EC review in 2002. The commission refused to comment on the SMMT and manufacturer's concerns.

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