FRANKFURT -- BMW says it will appeal a fine from the Swiss Competition Commission for impeding private imports of its cars to Switzerland.
The 156 million Swiss franc ($163 million) penalty was imposed on the carmaker for "impeding direct and parallel imports," the regulator said in a statement on Thursday.
BMW says it plans to appeal within the legal deadline of one month.
"We categorically reject the accusations, the argumentation and the amount of the fine," said a spokeswoman for the company, adding that BMW adhered to all laws governing both Switzerland and the European Economic Area.
"We have one month to consider a possible appeal, but the decision has already been made that we will take this to the next higher level of jurisdiction," she said, clarifying that this would be the second highest court in the country.
The commission says it fined BMW for trying to prevent Swiss residents from buying its cars outside Switzerland. The strength of the safe-haven franc in recent years has prompted many Swiss consumers to buy cars in euros in Germany, France or Italy and import them back to Switzerland, hurting car dealerships in the country.
In October 2010, Swiss regulators said they had information suggesting BMW branches were barring sales to Swiss citizens in the European Economic Area, which includes the 27 members of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
In Switzerland, BMW was selling the 5-series sedan from 62,200 Swiss francs ($65,090) as of late 2010, including a 7.6 percent value-added tax, according to the company's Web site. The starting price for the same car in Germany, sales tax included, was 41,900 euros ($52,660).
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.