Exemption from exemption
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• The first draft of the new rules governing Block Exemption is about to be published, but it's unlikely to result in a revolution in truck distribution.
"It's my belief that the European Commission will recognise the special position of truck dealers when it considers the future of the franchise system," says Keith Sayfritz, managing director of Daf dealership Greenhous and chairman of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's truck dealer council. "Franchised dealers have a crucial role to play when it comes to ensuring safety," he points out.
What the new rules may do, however, is give franchised dealers greater security of tenure. Sayfritz declines to go into detail, bui according to industry insiders on change might be the mandatory intro. duction of five-year rolling dealer agree. ments. At present most agreement allow either side to give two years' notia of termination, or a year's notice if tht manufacturer has an overwhelmirq need to reorganise the network.
However, dealers argue that suck notice periods are much too short giver the massive investment that they half( to make in premises, stock, and staff The claim of 'overwhelming need' can of course, be challenged, as it has been by Mercedes-Benz car dealers affectet by DaitnlerChrysler's decision to reor ganise its network.