IM to sue General Motors: Car importer seeks damages for loss of Isuzu franchise to Vauxhall

Click to follow
The Independent Online
IM GROUP, the private car importer, was today expected to serve a writ against General Motors and its UK subsidiary, Vauxhall, claiming damages of at least pounds 50m for loss of business.

The move follows an announcement at the London Motor Show on Wednesday that Vauxhall will be taking over the franchise to import Isuzu's Trooper model from IM at the end of this year.

IM's chairman, the multi- millionaire entrepreneur Bob Edmiston, claims that GM, which owns about 37 per cent of Isuzu, used its influence to get Vauxhall the contract.

Mr Edmiston said the writ was for 'damages for conspiracy, for unlawful interference in our business, and for breach of confidence'. He said IM imported 5,000 Isuzu Troopers into the UK from Japan last year, the maximum allowed under quota rules, and the business was worth pounds 10m a year before tax.

Vauxhall said in a statement: 'General Motors Corporation and Vauxhall believe they have acted properly throughout and will vigorously defend any proceedings IM Group may bring.'

Mr Edmiston originally served a writ for dollars 75m against GM in America, but proceedings were dismissed by a US court, which said that the matter should be dealt with in the UK because of the strong British business links.

The IM franchise with Isuzu was due to expire at the end of 1993, but Mr Edmiston said he expected it to be renewed. 'I had verbal assurances that we would have the franchise for 10 years. And it is accepted practice in Japan that if the franchise is going well then it should be renewed.'

IM, which also imports Subaru and Hyundai vehicles, has held the Isuzu franchise for seven years. Vauxhall already imports Isuzu into the rest of Europe.