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Dealers step up pressure on DCUK

GENEVA MOTOR SHOW: Mercedes-Benz UK dealers have called on DaimlerChrysler UK to “justify or withdraw” the termination notices that were issued earlier this year. They warned that failure to do so would force them to take their case to the High Court.

Around 120 of the 156 Mercedes dealers have united in the campaign against DCUK's decision to give its network 12 months' notice of contract termination. They claim the decision was unlawful.

The dealers' appeal was put in a letter delivered to DCUK's lawyers yesterday afternoon, giving the company 10 days in which to act. DCUK has yet to respond.

Nick Adams, a leading figure in the campaign and managing director of Mercedes-Benz dealership John Tallis (Bath), said at the Geneva motor show: “The UK market is very strong. The Mercedes-Benz brand and the 156 UK dealers are both highly successful and very competitive with one another.

“Last year we sold 65,000 cars despite 15,000 imports coming to the UK.”

He believed that if DCUK succeeded in its bid to take direct control of 70% of the market, retaining a few dealers covering huge territories, the company would be “effectively controlling the market and eliminating competition in the UK”.

Mercedes dealers, backed by the Retail Motor Industry Federation, have reiterated their pledge to take DCUK to court, though it would take several months for the case to be heard.

Mr Adams was confident that in the event the High Court found in favour of DCUK dealers, the long-term relationship with the manufacturer would not be seriously damaged.

“This is a business and we are proud to be selling Mercedes products,” he said.

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