PARIS - Carmaker Chevrolet was ordered to pay its French dealers nearly $8.5 million in compensation by a Paris court Monday for the "brutal" withdrawal of its brand from Europe.
Seventeen dealers had sued the company, part of the U.S. General Motors (IW 500/5) giant, for not respecting a notice period it was obliged to give them after GM announced in December 2013 that it was withdrawing Chevrolets from sale in 2015 due to poor sales.
They had claimed damages of 33 million euros, after alleging that Chevrolet France had put pressure on dealerships who did not accept their initial offer of compensation by withdrawing marketing material and delaying delivery so they were left with no cars to sell.
GM decided to pull Chevrolet out of Europe so as not to compete with its Opel and Vauxhall lines.
Judges at the Paris commerce tribunal also forced the carmaker to pay costs, saying it had "failed in its obligation to abide by the good faith and loyalty of the contract" with its dealers.
The dealers had earlier condemned the "brutality and disloyalty" of the announcement. Chevrolet sales fell by 64.5% in France in the three months after the decision.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015