DaimlerChrysler was this week facing an EC fine after being accused of preventing dealers in low-priced European countries from having enough Mercedes-Benz cars to meet demand.
The group vigorously denies trying to prevent its dealers in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain from selling to people in other EU countries between 1985-96. DaimlerChrysler was expected to appeal.
Speculation in Brussels suggested the fine was likely to be between £40-45m. Volkswagen was earlier fined £64m (reduced to £56m on appeal) after similar accusations were made against it.
The fine followed a five-year investigation by the Commission and came as officials moved into the final phase of drafting new Block Exemption regulations.
Mario Monti, the EC Competition Commissioner, has warned carmakers he did not believe they enforced the current regulations properly. There is a growing belief in Brussels that Block Exemption in place from next October will be more liberal. (October 10, 2001)