Fleet News

Peugeot fined €50m in Dutch sales case

THE European Commission has fined Peugeot €49.5 million as part of its campaign against manufacturers attempting to block cross-border sales.

It said the car manufacturer was guilty of breaking EU anti-trust law by preventing car dealers from selling exports to consumers outside of the Netherlands between 1997 and 2003.

The commission said Peugeot pressured Dutch dealers by holding back sales performance bonuses if they sold cars to non-Dutch residents. They also threatened to reduce the supply of new vehicles to dealers who had developed ‘significant expert activity’.

Pre-tax prices of cars in the Netherlands are cheaper than in other EU countries encouraging some buyers to cross theborder to buy cars.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: ‘The decision demonstrates the commission’s determination to use the EC Treaty’s competition rules to prevent companies from depriving consumers of the benefits of the single market.

‘In the motor vehicle sector, such practices are particularly harmful, since the car represents the second most expensive item in the household budget.’

In a statement, Peugeot said the bonus system was designed to increase its share of Dutch market and ‘was not in any way intended to restrict cross-border sales’.

The company said it would examine the decision before deciding whether to appeal.

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