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Judgment Of The Supreme Court Of The Republic Of Latvia Regarding KIA Auto AS And Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia ruled on the legality of the decision made by the Latvian Competition Authority on 7 August 2014 concerning the warranty conditions of KIA Auto AS in the period 2004-2009 (previous stock exchange announcements on 21 August 2014 and 10 March 2017). The Supreme Court referred the case to the Administrative Circuit Court for reconsideration, citing the need for a full analysis of the alleged anti-competitive behavior, including its impact on the market, and whether the Latvian Competition Authority’s assessment was thorough, accurate and proper. KIA Auto AS is pleased that the Supreme Court took into account the arguments of KIA Auto AS and referred the matter back to the administrative circuit court for a substantive review.

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The decision of the Latvian Competition Authority of 7 August 2014, which was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court, stated that in accordance with the warranty conditions valid from 2004 to 2009, KIA This situation was considered a violation of Article 11 of the Latvian Competition Act by KIA’s network of dealers and services. A fine of 135 thousand euros was imposed on KIA Auto AS, of which 95 thousand euros were imposed jointly and severally on Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS.

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KIA Auto AS and Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS did not agree with the decision of the Latvian Competition Authority, as the entire prosecution was based on a single refusal to carry out warranty repairs by a third party who confirmed in court that KIA Auto AS was not involved in the refusal to carry out warranty repairs. there were other objective circumstances for refusing to carry it out. Under Kia’s 2004-2009 warranty terms, Kia cars could also be serviced by independent repairers, but to ensure the quality of the service and the safety of the occupants, service is performed free of charge by an authorized dealer to verify compliance with the manufacturer’s standards. The Latvian Competition Authority did not analyze the warranty conditions in sufficient detail and interpreted them as meaning that maintenance by independent repairers was limited. In addition, the Latvian Competition Authority had no legal basis to conclude that Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS could have been responsible for the situation jointly or severally with KIA Auto AS, as Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS was not involved in the decisions concerning KIA Auto AS’s warranty conditions and is merely the latter’s holding company.

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