BRUSSELS -- The European Commission sent a formal statement of objections to French carmaker Peugeot on sales practices that make it harder for consumers to buy cars across EU national borders, it said on Thursday.
"That statement was sent about a month ago. It did not receive any publicity at the time but now we do confirm that action has been taken," Commission spokesman Tilman Lueder said.
The Commission alleges that Peugeot refused to give the full range of bonuses to dealers for cars which they sold to people living outside the dealer's territory or country, discouraging sales of cars.
An EU official said the objections considered Peugeot's practices in the Netherlands and Germany.
"Here it is the trade to the end consumer which allegedly is impeded because the full bonus is only given for those cars where it can be proven that they are registered in the dealers' allocated territory," Lueder said.
Peugeot was raided in 1999 and 2003 as part of an investigation whose latest stage is the formal accusation that has been made by the EU executive in its statement of objections.
The Commission also commented on the status of two other investigations concerning the automobile industry.
One involved Audi, which is being investigated after complaints that the Volkswagen division's German dealers receive a substantial bonus for each car they buy from the company and sell to consumers.
This bonus is not available if the dealer resells the car to another dealer.
"We have asked the company at issue for further clarification," Lueder told reporters. "Cross-supply is a cornerstone" of EU automobile sales rules, he added.
The Commission is also investigating complaints about BMW that allege it has made it more difficult for dealers to display other brands in their showrooms alongside BMW products -- a practice which is contrary to EU rules.
An EU official said the practice is being investigated in 15 countries but added that the EU rules governing car sales do not take effect in the bloc's 10 new members until November 1.