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BMW dealer association to meet with EC officials about contract complaints

Munich. The fight over BMW's dealer contracts under the new block exemption is entering a new phase. Hanns-Peter Eger, president of the European BMW dealer association, and Konrad Schumm, a member of the European Commission's competition executive board, are meeting with members of the EC to discuss an informal complaint the dealers lodged in June with the commission.

Since then the relationship between the dealers and BMW sales boss Michael Ganal has worsened.

A few days ago, Ganal announced that the contracts would "come into effect as they had been signed" - despite the fact that a decision from Brussels is not expected before October.

"I do not understand what drove Mr. Ganal to make this statement," Eger said. "We agreed not to make any comments until Brussels decided the case."

Christian Genzow, a lawyer for the dealer association, added, "I don't believe that it will be as easy as BMW hopes." Recently the manufacturer lost a court case in which three dealers, who had not received new contracts from BMW, successfully argued that they had not been given a one-year notice. According to a decision last week by the Munich state court, BMW has to supply the dealers with cars for another year. Genzow said that the manufacturer has to change its existing contracts. BMW wants to appeal the court decision.

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