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European Commission hits six auto suppliers with EUR155m fine

Published 09 March 2017

The European Commission has fined six auto air conditioning and engine cooling components suppliers €155m in cartel settlement.

Behr, Calsonic, Denso, Panasonic, Sanden and Valeo have been fined for taking part in one or more of four cartels regarding supplies of air conditioning and engine cooling components to car manufacturers in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The cartels of suppliers are said to have been coordinating prices and markets and exchanging sensitive information in the supply of climate control components and engine cooling components to car manufacturers in teh EEA.

Through the cartels, the suppliers were supplying parts to automakers including Volkswagen, BMW Group, Daimler, Volvo, Suzuki, Renault, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover.

Investigations showed the existence of four such infringements which took place between 2004 and 2009. This is the sixth time the EC has given a ruling on automotive parts and components industry after it started investigating the industry several years ago.

The commission has fined Mahle Behr €62.1m, while Japan’s Sanden was fined €64.6m and Denso €322,000. Calsonic and French supplier Valeo was fined €1.7m and €26.7m respectively. Panasonic has not been fined, as it revealed the existence of such a cartel.

European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “Even though air conditioning and cooling components are not something you see as products, they are very much something you feel.

“In this case you might also have felt it in your wallet even though temperatures would still be regulated in your car. Today's decision underlines that we do not accept cartels that affect the European market, wherever and however they may be organised."

The commission also stated that several other vehicle components such as car seats, steering systems, parking heaters, alternators and starters, occupant safety systems and more are presently being investigated or will be investigated in the near future.

Image: EU fines automotive suppliers’ cartel. Photo: Courtesy of blackzheep/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.