The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) has filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition filed by Felder’s Auto Parts of Louisiana to overturn the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissal of Felder’s antitrust suit against General Motors and one of its dealers.
The Automotive Body Parts Association believes the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was mistaken in upholding the dismissal of Felder’s antitrust case against General Motors’ “Bump the Competition” pricing program, and that such programs are aimed at the elimination of alternatives for repairers and consumers which ABPA believes will lead to higher prices.
The ABPA brief states, “It is not merely competitors that are being eliminated by GM’s ‘Bump the Competition’ program. Rather, due to the nature of the automotive repair part industry, the customer-perceived relationship between the vehicles being repaired and the OEM and non-OEM repair parts, and the nature of GM’s pricing program, it is competition that is being eliminated. The economic harm the petitioner is suffering is not limited to its specific geographical market. Rather, the harm is occurring nationwide.”
Felder’s originally filed the suit in 2012, alleging that the “Bump the Competition” price matching program General Motors offered to its dealers was an illegal predatory pricing scheme that was designed to gain control of the collision parts business by driving aftermarket parts companies out of business. The suit named All Star Automotive Group, owner of All Star Chevrolet North, the dealer participating in the Beat the Competition program, as a co-defendant.
In April 2014, a federal judge in Louisiana granted a motion filed by GM and All Star Automotive to dismiss the lawsuit, agreeing that Felder’s failed to properly define the geographic market and that an amended complaint failed to properly plead a predatory pricing scheme. In January 2015, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling stating that antitrust laws were designed for “the protection of competition, not competitors.”