Volkswagen Group v. B Automobili


The Supreme Court of Italy (Corte di Cassazione) rejected all claims brought against VW by local car dealer B Automobili in a long-running, complex case involving the alleged “abuse of a dominant position” by VW.

A judicial victory was scored in Italy this fall by Bryan Cave’s affiliated office (SILS) on behalf of the Volkswagen Group. The Supreme Court of Italy (Corte di Cassazione) rejected all claims brought against VW by local car dealer B Automobili in a long-running, complex case involving the alleged “abuse of a dominant position” by VW.

The plaintiff alleged the violation of Italian antitrust rules – specifically, Section 3 of Law No. 287 of 1990 – on the basis of “restrictions of intrabrand competition” imposed on dealers by VW’s national distributor, Volkswagen Group Italia, in the context of its sales network’s reorganization and restructuring for luxury brand AUDI.

The Supreme Court, however, took the lack of sourcing exclusivity obligations for the dealers, and the objective criteria applied in the network’s restructuring, as clear evidence of VW’s primary aims of market efficiency and improving consumers’ services and opportunities. This result absolved the German manufacturer and its national distributor of the plaintiff’s intended sanctions and expensive restoration of damages under Italian law.

Bryan Cave’s VW team in Italy was led by Luigi Zumbo (Picture) and Arturo Battista.

Involved fees earner: Luigi Zumbo – Bryan Cave; Arturo Battista – Bryan Cave;

Law Firms: Bryan Cave;

Clients: Volkswagen;