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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
VW price-fixing decision looms
VW's new Passat
The Commission will decide whether VW is to be fined again
Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, could face another hefty fine on Wednesday when the European Commission ends its investigation into alleged price-fixing.

The Commission would decide on Wednesday the amount of any fine, EU spokesman Michael Tscherny said.

The investigation focused on charges that VW pressured its German dealers to drop customer rebates on Passat models, making them among the most expensive in Europe.

VW has changed its practices since the investigation began in 1999, said the Commission spokesman.

The fine will depend on the company's previous record and the length of the offence, which lasted for two years.

Analysts estimate it could be between 20m euros and 31m euros ($17m-26m) for the company which in 1999 - one of the year's in question - made a profit of $555m (392.8m) on sales of $64.2bn (45.2bn).

Volkswagen was not prepared to comment ahead of the Commission's ruling.

Not the first time

EU rules allow for fines of up to 10% of global sales against companies found to have engaged in price-fixing, although the fines have usually been much lower.

VW has already incurred the largest fine the Commission has ever imposed on a company.

In July, the European Court of Justice upheld a penalty of 90m euros (54.4m, $77m) against VW for forcing its Italian dealers not to sell to foreigners looking for cheaper cars than they could get at home.

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08 May 01 | Business
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VW reports record profits
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