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Monday, 7 May, 2001, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
No decision yet on VW fine
Latest VW Passat
The Passat is reported to be the focus of the EU inquiry
The European Commission has not decided whether to fine German car maker Volkswagen for breaking competition rules on price setting, a spokesman said on Monday.

German press reports suggested VW faced a fine of more than 5.1m euros ($4.56m) from the EU.

"I cannot give any indication as to what the decision will say, fines are decided at the last minute," said a Commission spokesman adding, "We've said before that we intend to finish this by the end of June".

The car giant contravened EU competition law by refusing to award substantial discounts for the new Passat model in 1996 and 1997, said the business daily Handelsblatt, interfering with the ability of dealers to set their own prices.

"The case is closed," the newspaper quoted an EU competition commissioner source.

Decision soon

The Commission is expected to announce a fine running into "double digit" millions of marks at the end of May, according to the newspaper's source.

Volkswagen was not available to comment.

In 1998, Brussels fined VW a record 102m euros ($90m) for preventing the reimportation to other European countries of cheaper cars from Italy.

VW shares barely reacted to the report as traders focused on the company's first-quarter results, due for release on Tuesday.

Volkswagen is expected to post a sharp rise in first quarter pre-tax profits as vehicle sales hold up despite weaker markets.

The car giant's shares are currently trading at the level they started the year at.

The newspaper report also said that DaimlerChrysler was the next target of the EU competition authorities.

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22 Mar 01 | Business
VW reports record profits
06 Jul 00 | Business
Volkswagen slapped with record fine
22 Feb 00 | Business
Big drop in VW profits
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