Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is waiting for government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Competition Commission, for a “clear indication” that there would no legal implications to releasing segment – or model-specific sales data, before it would again report local sales in detail, said MBSA CEO and president Dr Martin Zimmermann.
At the end of last year MBSA halted the release of all segment-specific sales data, on the back of a global directive from its German parent company, Daimler. It now only provided one comprehensive number for passenger cars sales and one for commercial vehicle sales.
The directive went out to almost all Daimler subsidiaries. Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, Zimmermann said the directive followed antitrust regulations in Europe which progressively inhibited the sharing of information among competitors, as it could lead to collusion.
“We stopped sharing data in Europe last year.” Zimmermann acknowledged that there were not yet any such regulations in South Africa, but noted that South African competition law often followed that of Europe. “In anticipation of that move, we acted in a precautionary fashion,” he said. “I would love to report our results.”
He said a quick fix to the problem would be for the Competition Commission to give a “clear ruling on the matter”. He said Turkey, for example, had provided vehicle makers with a specific exemption, allowing them to share sales data. “If this happens, we would be willing to report our figures. Hopefully we can find a solution in the next couple of months”.
Zimmermann said MBSA was in “constructive dialogue” with government on the issue, and had asked the DTI its advice on “how to move forward”. “It is a grey zone now. We would like it to be black and white.”