Vertical Restraints and the Law: Evidence from Automobile Franchising

Posted: 25 Sep 2008

Date Written: August 1, 2008


This paper shows that, after a 2002 European regulation prohibited the use of dealer exclusive territories, automobile franchise contracts in Italy introduced price ceilings and standards on verifiable marketing and service inputs, such as advertising and salespeople. The contracts also imposed quantity floors, a practice already in use before the regulatory change. The introduction of standards suggests that, consistent with a view of vertical restraints as coordination mechanisms, manufacturers used exclusive territories to induce desired dealer services and, once prohibited, switched to alternative contractual devices to achieve this goal. The introduction of price ceilings despite free intrabrand competition also suggests car manufacturers tried to prevent some dealers from "gaming" the quantity floors by selling to other dealers' customers, while charging monopolistic prices at their own location.

Keywords: Dealership Contracts, Freeriding, Regulatory Change, Vertical Restraints

JEL Classification: K21, L14, M21

Suggested Citation

Zanarone, Giorgio, Vertical Restraints and the Law: Evidence from Automobile Franchising (August 1, 2008). Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 52, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Giorgio Zanarone (Contact Author)

CUNEF ( email )

Leonardo Prieto Castro 2
Madrid, Madrid 28040


Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics