Automotive sector back in EU’s antitrust crosshairs

EU flags flutter in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday raided several automotive companies and associations in several countries on suspicion of breaching the bloc’s cartel rules.

The European Commission also sent companies requests for information, it said without disclosing company names.

“The inspections and requests for information concern possible collusion in relation to the collection, treatment and recovery of end-of-life cars and vans which are considered waste,” the EU competition enforcer said in a statement.

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German carmaker BMW said it has received a request for information and would respond.

Mercedes Benz (MBGn.DE) said it does not expect to be fined because it is a leniency applicant and is cooperating extensively with the Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA also opened an investigation into a number of unnamed vehicle makers and some industry bodies and said it was cooperating with the Commission. read more

Companies found breaching EU cartel rules face fines up to 10% of their global turnover.

The Commission has in the past decade issued fines totalling about 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) against car parts cartels dealing in products ranging from brakes to wire harnesses, seat belts and air bags.

($1 = 0.9105 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee
Additional reporting by Christina Amann and Ilona Wissenbach in Frankfurt
Editing by David Goodman

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