Citroen and Renault have both confirmed their backing for the current regime that governs European car distribution, describing the system as the best possible option. Their support challenges the early conclusions of European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, who recently expressed major reservations about the real levels of competition in the market.
Pierre-Alain de Smedt, executive vice-president of Renault, said the company would 'strongly defend' the existing block exemption, and pledged that Renault would 'fight hard' to keep it.
He was backed by Claude Satinet, chief executive officer of Citroen, who said: 'We are completely convinced that the actual system is the right system and we will do our best to maintain it.'
Satinet believes Europe's current dealer-based distribution system to be completely compatible with the development of the internet and e-business.
'E-business creates the possibility for customers to define their cars online using a configurator, get a price for the cars, receive finance offers, and reserve cars online,' he said.
'But the conclusion of the transaction will always take place with the dealership. We want to enhance the relationship between our customers and our dealers, and our web sites try to drive customers to their nearest dealers.' (July 2000)