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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Daimler challenges record EU fine
A Chrysler Jeep production line
DaimlerChrysler is challenging the 71m euros fine
DaimlerChrysler plans to challenge a 71m euro (44.5m) fine imposed by the European Union for breaking competition rules.

The fine, which was announced on Wednesday morning, relates to the company's distribution and pricing of Mercedes cars and trucks.

"A new car is an expensive purchase and consumers pay attention to prices," said EU competition commissioner Mario Monti.

"The Commission is determined to ensure that they benefit from competition at retail level and get a good deal."

Mr Monti said that the company had broken "fundamental rules of competition".

DaimlerChrysler fights back

However, DaimlerChrysler said in a statement that "it would take steps against the European Commission's decision".

"The decision came all the more as a surprise particularly because Mercedes-Benz has taken the leading role in price harmonisation," it added.

The German automaker had broken rules on price-fixing, leasing competition and parallel trade, according to Mr Monti.

One of DaimlerChrysler's misdemeanours was to instruct its dealers to make foreign customers pay a deposit of 15% when ordering a car in Germany.

This was not the case for German customers even when they lived far away or were unknown to the seller.

Record fine

The fine is the third largest ever imposed by the EC on an industrial producer.

The heavy fine was intended to have "a sufficient deterrent effect on DaimlerChrysler and other companies", said Mr Monti.

See also:

20 Jul 01 | Business
DaimlerChrysler beats expectations
03 Jul 01 | Business
German carmakers make US inroads
13 Jul 01 | Business
Mercedes recalls 150,000 cars
25 Apr 01 | Business
DaimlerChrysler falls into the red
14 Aug 01 | Business
Car workers defiant in South Africa
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