Porsche has canceled contracts at all of its European car dealers ahead of the launch of new EU rules on auto retailing.
"In April, to take account of the change in the basic legal conditions, we informed our importers that we will implement new contracts for the roughly 300 dealers in Europe in July 2013," Bernhard Maier, head of marketing and sales at Porsche, told Automotive News Europe.
The EU will end the auto industry's current vehicle block exemption regulation for new-car sales in May 2013 at which time a new cross-industry vertical block exemption will debut.
Maier is not worried that Porsche's move will upset the company's retail network.
"The existing contracts are being canceled at the end of June 2011 with 24 months' notice. To assure continuity in the network, however, we are giving out new contracts to our sales partners."
Porsche also is using the opportunity to "fundamentally rework the contract agreement," Maier said. "Today, there is still a special contract with its own enclosures for each model line. In the future, there will be just one dealer contract for all the model lines. The new contract is leaner and its content is up-to-date."
All the points in industry association ACEA's Code of Good Practice are taken into account in the new contracts, Maier said.
In the past, as a small manufacturer, Porsche benefited from the so-called "De Minimis" rule. This will change with the new block exemption.
Said Maier: "In the past, based on our niche position as a small sports car manufacturer, we were able to avail ourselves of special contractual rules, such as exclusive showrooms. As result of the revisions in the block exemption, we can incorporate these regulations over the long term."