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European Court judgement upholds record VW fine

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg yesterday upheld a €90 million fine imposed last year, ending Volkswagen's year-long appeal. The case against VW has been brought by the European Commission five years ago, for restricting its Italian dealer network from supplying new cars to its dealer networks in Germany and Austria.

The fine, initially set by the Commission at the equivalent of €102 million, was reduced to €90 million by the lower court on the grounds that VW's contravention of block exemption rules had continued only for the three years between 1993 and 1996. Another EC case against VW, alleging that the company prevented its German dealers from discounting the Passat model, remains outstanding.

An EC investigation of anti-competitive practices by the French manufacturers - which involved dawn raids on PSA Peugeot Citroen offices earlier this year - has yet to culminate in formal proceedings. Other manufacturers fined for contraventions of the outgoing block exemption 1475/95 were DaimlerChrysler and Opel.

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