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EU Competition Law and the Automobile Industry

Competition law has a strong influence on the automobile industry, even if this sector's concentration rates do not raise the same antitrust concerns as, for example, chemical or telecommunication industries. Starting out with vertical agreements, this work will show that the motor vehicle sector has proven decisive in shaping the very notion of “competition” and the relationship between Articles 101(1) and 101(3) TFEU, which is best understood by the distinction between allocative vs. productive efficiency. This distinction helps in turn explain the role of non-competition objectives within antitrust proceedings.
The thesis will build on those findings to assess crisis agreements and mergers between auto manufacturers; it will conclude with a prospective case study on antitrust solutions for the rescue of the Volkswagen Group, should it end up impossibly oppressed by financial burdens in the wake of the “Dieselgate” scandal.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
Introduction The present work aims at investigating the application of the competition law of the European Union (EU) to the automobile industry. Undertakings active in this sector in Europe are among the most influential economic operators in terms of GDP, innovation and employment in the EU. 1 However, while vertical relationships between car manufacturers and distributors of motor vehicles have been at the core of EU competition law, the industry is not at the top of competition policy concerns as far as horizontal relationships are concerned; this is because the European automobile market is a competitive environment and lacks worrisome degrees of concentration. However, in spite of this, two facts have to be kept in mind: first, in order to reach rapidly increasing optimal scales the global automobile sector is on a trend towards more consolidation, and this trend also affects the EU market since the biggest manufacturers operate on a global basis; second, the conditions of competition among automakers are not levelled across EU Member States, meaning that the competitive structure of the EU market as a whole may not correspond to the structure of some national markets. The authors starts off in Chapter 1 by highlighting the business reality and the main economic features of the European car industry, also providing insights on the definition of the relevant market in this sector; defining the relevant market is crucial no matter which area of antitrust is being applied, since it is key to circumscribe the product and geographic scope of the commercial practices to be assessed. In Chapter 2, after sketching the general framework of EU competition law, we focus on the EU rules on anti-competitive agreements (Article 101 TFEU); we start from the premise that the EU competition authorities have frequently allowed policy considerations other than competition concerns strictu sensu to shape the application of Article 101. This reality, which stands upon a flawed economic approach, has had two diametrically opposite consequences: on the one hand, the internal market policy has usually lead the Commission to a formalistic application of Article 101(1), particularly evident in the context of the car sector and the sector-specific block exemptions (Section 2.4); on the 1 Relevant statistics are provided in the Annex. 9

Tesi di Laurea Magistrale

Facoltà: Scuola di Economia e Scienze Politiche

Autore: Lorenzo Giuseppe Gugliotta Contatta »

Composta da 240 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 106 click dal 21/12/2016.


Consultata integralmente 2 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.