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NFDA gets BER legal support

The RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has appointed European law firm Osborne Clarke to provide legal support with negotiations for the next Block Exemption Regulation (BER) renewal.

Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: “The next BER is likely to have a huge impact, so it is vital that we cover all bases, and make sure that we make the best possible outcome for the industry.

“With this in mind we have invited Osborne Clarke to assist us, so that the legal ramifications are fully considered.”

Miles Trower, Osborne Clarke competition law and automotive specialist, said: “We are delighted to be working with the NFDA in the run-up to block exemption renewal in 2010.

“The NFDA has clear understanding of the issues affecting authorised networks and has demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving the best result for its members long-term.” NFDA set out its wish list for the next Block Exemption Regulation review in 2010 at the end of last year.

The trade body, part of the RMIF, is keen to retain the two-year notice of termination as it provides a degree of security for its members. But it is pressing the European Commission to abolish the one-year notice of network restructuring in favour of a two-year agreement. And it wants carmakers’ franchise requirements to be ‘more affordable and reasonable’.

The NFDA will continue to lobby for retailers’ rights to display their own names on showroom signage – the likes of Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz require dealers to trade under their name only. It also wants mutual agreement on sales targets.

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