VDAT v Porsche final judgement
26th July 2021
Following the successful resolution of the court case between VDAT (Verband der Automobiltuner) and Porsche that was reported last year, finally after more than seven years, ETO - the PAAA's partner association that represents the European specialist equipment and tuning industry – has announced that VDAT has received final judgement, the verdict providing a clear signal that benefits our industry as a whole.
The key issue of the case was that Porsche had restricted or prohibited the supply to of new vehicles and parts to ‘Tuners and Customisers’ via its dealer and service centres in an inadmissible manner.
The Federal Court of Justice has unreservedly confirmed the view of the Higher Regional Court- Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Stuttgart on the facts and rejected the appeal against the OLG judgment.
The ruling has the effect of signalling to all vehicle manufacturers - beyond the immediate Porsche issue - that such restrictions are fundamentally contrary to antitrust law. It states that vehicle manufacturers who consider similar ideas comparable to those of the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer should now refrain from attempting to impose such restrictions, as the association now has the right to act and take the issue to court.
The representative of the Federal Cartel Office, who was present at the hearing, pointed out that conducting such proceedings to clarify fundamental questions, is an important purpose for association member companies and that collective actions from associations are currently still the exception when it comes to questioning antitrust laws.
As the court ruling could have a positive effect beyond Germany and will benefit the industry as a whole, the ETO has asked that if anyone in the industry hears of similar circumstances taking place in the UK, they should inform PAAA representatives.