Italian Carmaker DR Faces Antitrust Probe for Vehicle Origin Misrepresentation
Italian carmaker DR Automobiles finds itself in the crosshairs of an antitrust investigation, as authorities suspect the company of misleading consumers regarding the origin of its DR and EVO-branded vehicles. The Italian competition authority, known as AGCM, disclosed this on Thursday, unveiling a probe into the car manufacturer’s advertising and corporate website practices.
According to AGCM, DR Automobiles inaccurately conveyed information about the manufacturing locations of some of its vehicle models. The company, headquartered in the southern Italian region of Molise, assembles budget-friendly cars in Italy using components from Chinese automakers such as Chery, JAC, and BAIC, including fully electric models. These allegations come as DR and EVO saw a surge in sales, with approximately 24,200 vehicles sold in Italy during the first nine months of 2023, marking a 48% increase compared to the previous year. The brands also secured a 2% market share during this period.
The investigation took a more serious turn when AGCM, in collaboration with Italian tax police officials, conducted on-site inspections at both the DR Automobiles headquarters and its parent company, Donington Srl. This joint effort aims to delve deeper into the allegations of misrepresentation.
The core issue revolves around the alleged omission of crucial information about the origin of DR and EVO vehicles. AGCM’s statement suggests that the company may have insinuated, in certain instances, that their cars were entirely produced in Italy when, in fact, they appeared to be of Chinese production.