MAN turns down applicants

Truck maker refers to small market share within service market

Munich. Truck maker MAN turned down 80 companies that applied for a service contract, despite their complying with all the quality standards demanded by the company.

New European Union retailing rules don't allow a company to restrict the number of service companies if the manufacturer's share in the relevant market -- in this case the service market -- is more than 30 percent.

But according to MAN officials, its truck sales division has a share of the German customer-services market below 30 percent. MAN referred to current market analyses in its letter of refusal, which was provided to Automobilwoche.

When drafting the new so-called block exemption rules, the EU commission assumed that all car manufacturers on the German market exceeded this 30 percent mark within the service sector and that quantitative selection was, therefore, prohibited.

Some of the rejected applicants doubt MAN's market analyses and are currently examining ways of taking legal action against the Bavarian manufacturer of commercial vehicles.

"Some companies invested up to 80,000 euros expecting to get a service contract. This could become very expensive for MAN," says Christian Genzow, an attorney from Cologne specializing in the industry. He calls the events an "April fool's joke."

The German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK) in Bonn also is trying to determine if anything can be done about MAN's move, said Ulrich Dilchert, head of the ZDK's legal department.

MAN did not comment on what a company spokesman called the "pending lawsuit."

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