EU: DaimlerChrysler Forces Germans To Pay Higher Prices

DaimlerChrysler faces the threat of a $100 million fine from the European Union (EU) for preventing Germans from buying its cars in markets where they are cheaper than high-priced Germany. Karel Van Miert, Commissioner for Competition at the 15-nation organization, said: "We have proof from member countries that DaimlerChrysler has prevented dealers from supplying German customers." The manufacturer is accused of violating European antitrust rules in preventing dealerships in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain from selling cars to nonresidents. German dealers, who have urged customers to buy abroad when local supplies of Mercedes cars were in short supply at home, also are alleged to have been under pressure from DaimlerChrysler. The case against the German-U.S. manufacturer will be heard before the European Court of Justice. EU Commissioner Van Miert says his antitrust investigators are looking at General Motor's German car-making subsidiary Opel as well. "We have solid proof of similar practices there concerning prevention of sales by Netherlands dealers to foreigners," he notes.

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