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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

BMW probed by antitrust regulator over blocking sales to Swiss residents

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BMW probed by antitrust regulator over blocking sales to Swiss residents

October 26, 2010 08:16 CET

BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- BMW is being investigated by Swiss antitrust authorities for allegedly preventing vehicle sales in some European countries to Swiss residents.

The Swiss Competition Commission said it has information that BMW distribution branches in the European Economic Area, which includes the European Union's 27 member countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, are barring sales of BMW and Mini brand vehicles to customers who are residents of Switzerland.

The Swiss franc has gained more than 9 percent against the euro this year, making BMW vehicles relatively more expensive in Switzerland, which isn't part of the European Union.

“We have asked BMW for comment after we opened our inquiries yesterday,” Patrik Ducrey, a spokesman for the commission, said on Tuesday.

BMW could face a maximum fine of 10 percent of group revenue generated in Switzerland over the past three fiscal years, Ducrey said. The investigation may take as many as two years, he said.

A BMW spokesman confirmed that the investigations are underway and declined to comment further.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101026/ANE/310269979/1193#ixzz13UBleVj7

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