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EU to end 'block exemption'

Sun, 29 Oct 2000
According to a story in today's 'Sunday Times' the EU Competition Commission under Mario Monti will refuse to renew manufacturer block exemption when it expires in September 2002. Block exemption is the restrictive practice whereby manufacturers determine who will sell their cars where. For the past 15 years, this has allowed local monopolies to be created, contolling the retail prices of new cars. Ending the system will mean an end to dealers being awarded an exclusive franchise to sell makes and models of cars within given areas, and will open the market to pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap supersites and internet sales. Car makers and franchised garages argue that the franchised system benefits the consumer, but ending this monopoly will make the retail motor industry genuinely competitive and make sure the British public does not get ripped off like it was in the 'Treasure Island' days between 1995 and 2000.

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