Fleet News

GM/Opel looks set to lose new fine appeal

GENERAL Motors BV (formerly General Motors Nederland BV) and Opel Nederland BV, look set to lose a second appeal against being fined over preventing their dealers exporting to other European Union (EU) member countries.

This was found by the European Commission to be a breach of EU freedom of trade laws and resulted in a v43 million fine for the companies. Opel/GM appealed and the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Court of First Instance reduced the fine to E35.47 million. The company appealed again, but ECJ advocate general Antonio Tizzano has recommended the full court dismiss the latest appeal.

Opel/GM argued that it was wrong in law to consider its policy of banning bonuses for sales of cars outside the Netherlands, as restricting exports.

Tizzano branded this as ‘based on a series of erroneous premises’. He recommended the fine be unchanged and that Opel/GM pay costs. No date has been set as to when the case will return to court.

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