A lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday by Wiegand MACK Sales & Service, a Detroit, Michigan-area authorised Mack truck dealer, against Mack Trucks of Allentown, Pennsylvania, alleges that the truck maker violated federal and state law and undermined its dealership network by making direct sales of trucks to its dealers’ potential customers and by engaging in illegal price discrimination.

According to a statement by the plaintiff’s law firm Duane Morris, this is the second such suit brought by a Mack dealer against Mack Trucks in the last 14 months. In July, 2002, Toledo, Ohio-based Toledo Mack Sales & Service filed a similar suit against Mack Trucks. That case remains pending in federal court in Philadelphia.

Like many states, Michigan law expressly forbids motor vehicle manufacturers from “sell[ing] any new motor vehicles directly to a retail customer other than through its franchised dealers.” The suit filed yesterday alleges that Mack Trucks improperly sold trucks directly to Wiegand Mack’s potential customers, including body builders, leasing companies and so-called “national accounts,” and also improperly sold trucks directly to Wiegand Mack’s competitors on more favourable terms than were made available to Wiegand Mack.

The suit also contends that Mack Trucks violated Michigan law by failing to fully reimburse Wiegand Mack for warranty work it performed. Wiegand Mack is seeking damages in excess of $US1 million.