European Commisions Investigation Of The Michelin Case

This instance involved Michelin being accused by the EU of trying to sit on and abused its dominant place in the new replacing Surs and retreaded Surs for heavy vehicles like trucks and coachs market in France.

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Michelin owed its important influence on this peculiar signifier of Sur industry to assorted factors. The house made itself sufficiently critical since supply of Surs from Michelin accounted for somewhat more than 65 per centum of the entire possible production by tyre-makers. Next, Michelin gained ownership of the concatenation Euromaster with over 330 specialized gross revenues mercantile establishments transporting the Michelin ‘s trade name together with those of other rivals ‘ . Hence, Michelin was seen to possess a major portion of the web of distribution channels. This may good find the success or failure for a concern of this nature because clients perceived the size of distribution web to bespeak the repute and dependability of the manufacturer. In this case mentioning to Michelin selling via Euromaster therefore the paper is proposing a elusive relationship between the supplier of the Surs and the retail merchants who are the traders or the concluding consumers. There must be an component of common trust and trust on the expertness of Michelin to input specific cognition, precise accomplishments and engineerings into reworking the Surs. As Surs are a critical portion of the chief constituents in maintaining vehicles operational, therefore traders and consumers tend to underscore on the lastingness. Recognition and trustiness of the quality came into drama with Michelin considered and idea of as the established trade name of Surs supplier and an effectual channel of bringing to make clients in France.

Furthermore, Michelin ‘s chief rival Bandag focused on pre-cure retreading which harmonizing to the author was thought to readily replaced the mould-cure retreading of Michelin with regard to any alterations in monetary value of the retreaded Surs, ceteris Paribas. The turning market for Bandag besides posed direct hazards to Michelin signalling purposes to wrestle for market portions in the retreaded Surs industry. In response, Michelin manipulated its dealingss with traders and terminal consumers tactically. Through the execution of Michelin ‘s commercial policies including several discounts and price reduction plans the house aimed to pull and retain the client base.

In add-on to the criterion of pricing Surs utilizing the official ‘invoicing graduated table ‘ which was a list monetary value being charged, Michelin offered traders a assortment of discounts. First, the measure discount strategy led to a direct relation between the volume of purchases and the sum of cost nest eggs that trader would have. Furthermore, comparative to unexpected accommodations in the volume of Surs bought the consequence of existent price reduction on the fringy footing turn out to be greater consequently. The consideration would be net consequence of hard currency flow due to detain in having discounts so it could be necessary to integrate the rule of discounting.

Service bonus strategy was related to how good traders adhered to the committednesss they have undertaken with Michelin. The point system worked on the footing of carry throughing committednesss which ranged from characteristics sing the quality of services rendered by traders, how traders behave towards Michelin ‘s clients and reworking as Michelin tyres automatically assigned to be retreaded by Michelin. The advancement fillip strategy designed such that traders who decided to come in into contracts with Michelin at start of twelvemonth could put minimal gross revenues quota for which the traders would profit productively should they pull off to transcend it. Individual understandings strategy could merely be applied to big purchasers whom reached the maximal volume of purchases. They would be collaborating with Michelin under adhering understanding nevertheless the positive was a twine of advantages for both the traders and Michelin.

The commercial policy consisted of two other constituents a “ Pro Agreement ” strategy and the Michelin friends ‘ nine which consolidated Michelin ‘s place in the Gallic Surs market. The “ Pro Agreement ” allowed both parties, Michelin to give price reductions for reworking each Sur and traders in bend, commit to hold Michelin rework all Michelin truck Surs that were due in tread wear. Bonuss earned in this strategy would interpret into recognition for buying new Michelin Surs in future. ( M.Motta, 2006, p.p10, Michelin II ) The “ Club des amis Michelin ” is an understanding that Michelin signed ( bilaterally ) with a big figure of gross revenues mercantile establishments ( 375 in 1997, accounting for some 20 % of the truck tyres markets ) . This concern cooperation established that Michelin should lend to assist members raise their professionalism and finally to make better. While, the nine members on their parts would hold to guarantee that they maintained an in agreement degree of Michelin ‘s trade name in the mercantile establishments and assist promote and promote Michelin among the consumers. As a consequence, outlooks that traders and Michelin would come on together increased.

The European Commission discovered Michelin to keep market portions transcending 50 per centum in the retreaded truck Surs replacement market in France. Michelin continued to give considerable market power even with a recent diminution and more findings pointed out that Michelin as a market leader took up commercial policy in favor for the house to vie on an unjust advantage against chief challenger and possible new entrants so as to uphold and consolidate its place.

Therefore, in 2001 Michelin was judged by the EC to hold breached Article 82 of the EU Treaty by mistreating its laterality in the Gallic market for new replacing and retreaded Surs for heavy vehicles. Michelin was fined EUR19.76 million and the Commission ‘s determination was upheld by the Court of First Instance subsequently in 2003.

As a dominant house, Michelin is expected to put monopoly monetary value at Pm ( T.Kendall,2010 ) for the heavy vehicle Surs being a monetary value shaper. On the contrary, the house gave price reductions and discounts for purchases to traders alternatively. This can be explained by the Coase speculation as Michelin operates as a dominant house in the retreaded Surs industry selling a type of lasting good, which refers to the retreaded Sur. The speculation is based upon take downing monetary value charged below monopoly monetary value, presuming after a period of clip ( n ) and kept sufficiently low for the good in order to continually pull new client base. It is mostly in support of the potency whereby Michelin may be seen as using the theory of bound pricing.

There are certain evidences to believe that Michelin harmonizing to ( J.Sloman,2006 ) takes up the pattern as it faces the hazard of holding to get by with emerging rivals seeking to come in the industry. This can be justified by the article which had mentioned the presence of new entrants. Therefore, a chance that Michelin attempts to bear down the highest monetary value possible without pulling new houses into the market is logical. While pricing set above the incumbent norm cost and at the same clip below monopoly monetary value, this show Michelin takes into consideration the long-run profitableness and disincentive of entrants by giving up some net incomes in the short-run. In puting monetary value, Michelin could hold related to both the Coase speculation and bound pricing theory before making its determination. This means that the monetary value of Michelin ‘s Surs does non merely follow the stated functionary ‘invoicing graduated table ‘ in bear downing a specific list monetary value on the volume bought as the article had discussed.

A 2nd statement points to Michelin non being able to bear down monopoly monetary value due to the fact that its nearest challenger Bandag, can bring forth pre-cure retreading Surs which are close replacements in supply and demand with the mould-cure retreading Surs. Hence, the moderately close snap increases the likeliness of traders exchanging suppliers if they detect large adequate alteration in monetary value, ceteris Paribas. Michelin has to supervise its end product closely together with the industry demand for mould-cure retreading Surs. It must be kept updated of the evolving and turning market for Bandag ‘s pre-cure retreading Surs so as to react seasonably and suitably to the actions of its chief challenger. This is besides for Michelin to break control and plans its productive capacity, apportioning resources expeditiously to where production demand alternatively of holding cases of overrun or underproduction which do non aline with altering degree of industry demand. Otherwise that will be dearly-won to the house and detrimental to the society in footings of loss in efficiency and wastage of resources.

Monopoly monetary value will be the higher monetary value charged at short-term net income maximizing degree ( MC=MR ) to bring forth as much net incomes sometimes supranormal net incomes is possible. High monetary values shall take to a loss of consumer public assistance and entire public assistance decreases in theory nevertheless this is non necessary the instance with Michelin.

A lower than monopoly monetary value charged is reasonably similar to the Cournot duopoly theoretical account whereby the Cournot monetary value ( Pc ) is between the monopoly monetary value ( Pm ) and perfect competition monetary value ( Ppc ) . Therefore the concluding monetary value of Surs is below the monopoly monetary value set but above the perfect competition monetary value charged. As for the measure produced by Michelin, groundss may be in favor of duopoly end product ( Qc ) which besides lies between perfect competition measure ( Qpc ) and monopoly ( Qm ) . But, from the article the actions of Michelin prompt that existent end product may differ comparative to degree of demand of such Surs from the traders alternatively of utilizing the duopoly measure as a benchmark. Since the monetary value of Surs is now lower than monopoly monetary value charged, the likely consequence will be a lessening of the loss in consumer excess. This indicates that public assistance of traders rises as consumers become better off with a greater country of consumer excess than compared to at monopoly monetary value. For the manufacturer Michelin, the country of manufacturer excess reduces since the part of consumer excess gained by bear downing at Cournot monetary value will replace the manufacturer excess to go consumer excess now in add-on to the country of monopoly monetary value set. As a consequence, Michelin becomes worse off than in monopoly because the size of net incomes shrink in proportion to the addition in country of CS. With mention to the transportation of public assistance from manufacturer back to consumer, this is opposite to the monopoly-perfect competition instance which has a public assistance transportation of consumer to manufacturer excess as the original country of CS becomes portion of PS. The entire public assistance still decreases with the creative activity of deadweight loss but this clip, the loss of economic public assistance is to a smaller extent unlike in monopoly-perfect competition. Therefore, there may be betterment in the economic public assistance since deadweight loss is lesser.

Although Michelin paid a brawny mulct for mistreating its dominant market power, it does non intend that this is good plenty to counterbalance for the anti-competition the house has brought approximately to its challengers, other private providers and new entrants. The actions of Michelin may hold caused rivals to endure particularly in the facets of manufacturer public assistance and entire public assistance. A lower manufacturer excess for Bandag and the other private providers in the market may turn out to be long-term with monetary values charged by these houses maintained at a extremely competitory degree near to the Cournot monetary value or even at P=MC for the new entrants. Deadweight loss will be inevitable ensuing in the loss of economic public assistance. Michelin may be able to rectify the state of affairs if it is willing to collaborate with the remainder of the houses to reinvest net incomes for invention and innovation. Cost nest eggs and efficiency nest eggs from the investings in research and development will so raise the economic public assistance through dynamic efficiency. Apart from the dynamic efficiency by Schumpeter to achieve merchandise and procedure inventions, rivals are able to accomplish the riddance of some deadweight loss.

It is more indispensable to concentrate on the public assistance of chief challenger, rivals and entrants than the traders. This is because empirical grounds from the article suggests that there is an instability of apportioning public assistance towards consumers as Michelin ‘s policy inclined to profit traders and bound rivals. Therefore there is a demand for the Commission to switch focal point of public assistance to other houses in the retreaded Surs industry as EU besides considers the involvements of houses. This is in line with the aim of the competition authorization taking to promote equity and freedom in competition among houses.

Analyzing the effects of the series of discounts, the measure price reductions scheme present a instance for intercession by the EC due to the policy bring oning trueness of the traders. This is because the extra volume of purchases entitles traders to a larger price reduction on entire volume bought. In this manner, Michelin attempts to forestall traders from purchasing the Surs of challengers as they will hold more inducements shown by the discounts granted to buy Michelin tyres instead than those of the rivals. At the same clip, this becomes restricting on the picks available for the consumers since the obvious pick and precedence is to buy from Michelin. It may be damaging on the traders as they will hold to purchase Michelin Surs or do without it. Another clasp back will be the demand to account for the rule of dismissing whereby traders are more concerned and by and large prefer having the discounts today than hold to the hereafter. The traders may hold to see the value of the price reductions receivable in future at the present value in order to mensurate whether they should take up the purchases. The EC may hold to transport out farther probes to find if Michelin genuinely pass on the cost nest eggs in the signifier of benefits of economic systems of graduated table transferred to its clients since dynamic efficiency allows the house to accomplish lower costs of bring forthing Surs. Can it be that Michelin as a big house is able to absorb all the costs incurred via implementing the assorted signifiers of discounts? These are some issues that the Commission will hold to chew over before make up one’s minding how best to step in in Michelin ‘s policy.

While the service fillip strategy encourages traders to raise their public presentations and criterions of services provided so as to harvest the wagess of hiting points and basking fillip, this can do the competing houses worse off but good to the traders. The strategy presents a weaker proposition than measure price reductions for intercession by EC since the public assistance of consumers and entire excess are better off. Competing houses as mentioned earlier will be a factor of concern originating repeatedly. Under the “ Pro Agreement ” , EC must undertake the restrictive pattern of ‘tying ‘ to decide the silent understandings that Michelin developed with traders so as to supply a more flat competitory field. However, this is really hard in world as there is a deficiency of clear accurate information for the competition authorization to work on. Furthermore, traders may be loath to give up the moneymaking trades offered by Michelin.

In defense mechanism, Michelin argued that the debut of the discount system did non hold any consequence on competition in the market as reflected by worsening monetary values and market portion of the house. The groundss prove otherwise with Michelin guilty of seeking to command traders through close monitoring of their concerns and exclude or thrust challengers out of concern. EC could enforce antimonopoly policies on Michelin and promote equity together with more horizontal competition. This is more of import than reinvestments of net incomes for dynamic efficiency. The issue of an incorporate web of workss, specialised gross revenues mercantile establishments and distribution channels will be controversial with Michelin constructing on strength to make barriers to entry that are deemed to be anti-competitive. ( D.Harbord & A ; T.Hoehn,1994 ) Sunk costs are a powerful signifier of entry barrier in which Michelin, likewise uses to discourage entrants since the house has an tenure advantage. Michelin being an established house can predate the costs that are sunk as chance costs of production. This present an unjust advantage to Michelin so EC will justly indicate out that an maltreatment of laterality has occurred.

List of Mentions of Beginnings

Main Journal Article

Motta, Massimo. 2006. Michelin II-The Treatment of Rebates European University Institute, Florence and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Other Journal Article

Harbord, David. and Hoehn, Tom. ( 1994 ) “ Barriers to Entry and Exit in European Competition Policy ” , International Review of Law and Economics 14 pp.411 to 428.

Ehlermann, D.Claus and Atanasiu, Isabela. 2004. “ Michelin, Commission Decision of 20 June 2001, Case ” , European Competition Law Annual 2002: Constructing the EU Network of Competition Authorities p.305 and p.466.

Web page

Europa-European Commission, European Commission Competition Antitrust [ Online ] ( October 6,2010 ) hypertext transfer protocol: // [ November,15 2010 ]


John Sloman. 2006. Economicss Sixth Ed. Edinburgh Gate Essex UK ; Prentice Hall Pearson Education Ltd. Part C: Microeconomicss “ Profit-maximizing under Perfect Competition and Monopoly ”

Lecture Materials

Dr Toby Kendall. 2010. Markets, Competition and Regulation Part A


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