Europe’s Reform of the Regulatory Framework of Motor Vehicle Distribution

Gregory Pelecanos, Jun 14, 2010

On May 27, 2010 the Commission adopted Regulation (EU) No. 461/2010 “on the application of Article 101 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices in the motor vehicle sector.” In so doing, it extended the life of Reg. 1400/ 2002 which was due to expire on May 31, 2010, until May 31, 2013 with regards to vertical agreements relating to the conditions under which the parties may purchase, sell or resell new motor vehicles (primary market). Additionally, article 101 (3) of the Treaty, Reg. 461/2010 exempted, from the application of article 101(1), vertical agreements relating to the conditions under which parties may purchase, sell, or resell spare parts for motor vehicles or provide repair and maintenance services for motor vehicles, (the aftermarket) which fulfill the requirements for an exemption under Regulation (EU) No. 330/2010 on the application of Article 101 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices (the VBER), and also do not contain any of the hardcore clauses listed in Article 5 of Reg. 461/2010.

In short, the Commission extended the life of and did not, at least until 2013, reform that part of Reg. 1400/2002 relating to the primary market. Indeed, it has kept the regime unchanged despite admitting that it did not work as intended in crucial areas and had little, if any, beneficial e

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