Block Exemptions

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EC motor vehicle block exemption reform: are you ready for the new regime?


Susanne Zuehlke and Gianni De Stefano

Reprinted from European Competition Law Review Issue 3, 2010

Sweet & Maxwell 100 Avenue Road Swiss Cottage London NW3 3PF (Law Publishers)


EC motor vehicle block exemption reform: are you ready for the new regime?
Susanne Zuehlke and Gianni De Stefano*

Block exemptions; Concerted practices; EC law; Motor industry; Vertical agreements The motor vehicle sector, in particular the distribution of passenger cars, commercial vehicles, spare parts and repair services, is subject to a specific block exemption, Regulation 1400/2002 (the motor vehicle block exemption), which is due to expire on May 31, 2010.1 Following a review launched in mid-2007, the European Commission (the Commission) adopted a Communication on July 22, 2009 to set out the basic policy orientations for the future legal framework that should apply to motor vehicle distribution and aftersales services agreements after the expiry of the motor vehicle block exemption. Currently, the motor vehicle sector is subject to a specific competition law regime which deviates from the general rules applicable to supply and distribution agreements. In particular, the motor vehicle block exemption provides for rules that are stricter than those provided in the general vertical block exemption, Regulation 2790/1999 (the vertical block exemption.2 Such stricter rules grant an increased protection for distributors and repairers in the motor vehicle sector. Overall, the Commission proposes to scale back specific competition rules in the motor vehicle sector and intends to subject most of the motor vehicle sector to the general competition regime. The Commission proposes in particular that the general…...

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