Fleet News

Fleet discounts under investigation by OFT

FLEET discounts are at the heart of an Office of Fair Trading investigation into whether manufacturers are selling cars to dealers at equivalent rates to those being offered to companies. Seven months after the publication of the Supply of New Cars Order 2000, the OFT has said it is investigating 'several complaints' from dealers claiming they are not being allowed to buy cars on the same terms as fleets.

Fleet NewsNet understands that complaints have been made against Ford, Vauxhall and Peugeot - the UK's 'big three' manufacturers - but Peugeot said it was unaware of the discrimination claims. While the manufacturers believe they are being fair and have interpreted the legislation correctly, dealers say that the Order, which came into effect on September 1, 2000 has, instead of clarifying new car buying and supply issues, led to widespread confusion.

An OFT spokesman told Fleet NewsNet: 'We have now received some complaints and we are looking at them to assess whether there has been a breach of the Order by any manufacturers.' It is understood the OFT will announce the result of its investigation within 'a matter of weeks'. If there has been a breach of the Order the OFT, under the terms of the Fair Trading Act, will go to court and a contempt of court order could be issued against offending car makers. The Supply of New Cars Order 2000 was not made under the Competition Act under which manufacturers could have been fined 10% of their turnover if found guilty of any breach.

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