Pursuant to Regulation 1400/2002 of 31 July 2002 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices in the motor vehicle sector, which replaced the previous Block Exemption (EC) Commission Regulation n. 1475/1995 of 28 June 1995 with the aim to ensure an increased level of competition in the European motor vehicle market, the period of notice for regular termination of the agreement has to be at least two years for both parties in case the agreement is concluded for an indefinite period. Such a period of notice is reduced to at least one year where it is necessary to reorganize the whole or substantial part of the distribution network (Article 3.5).
The distributor claimed that there were no conditions which would permit consideration of reorganization under the EC-Regulation n. 1400/2002. He consequently deemed that the 12 months period of notice was too short and asked for damages.
In the decision issued on June 23rd, 2005 the Court refused to uphold what the distributor claimed.
Particularly, the Court stated that the re-organization of the distribution network was for Fiat Austria necessary and in compliance with both the EC antitrust law and the contractual provision.
The claim of the car distributor was then rejected by all instances.