The European Commission has fined OE suppliers Bosch, Continental and NGK a total of €151M, after participating in one or more of five historic cartels concerning the supplies of spark plugs, hydraulic and electronic brake system components to VMs in Europe.
The first cartel lasted from 2000 until 2011 and aimed at avoiding competition by respecting each other’s traditional customers and maintaining the existing status quo in the spark plugs industry in the European Economic Area.
The second and third related to the supply of various braking components including electronic parking brake systems between 2007 and 2011.
All suppliers acknowledged their participation in these cartels and agreed to settle the
case. Denso was also involved in the first cartel, but was not fined after revealing the existence of its cartel to the Commission. TRW also escaped fines altogether for disclosing the second and third cartels, while Continental avoided charges for one of the two cartels it participated in on the same grounds.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy said: “These cases are about collusion at the expense of car makers. But in the end, any extra costs these carmakers may have incurred could potentially be passed on to final consumers when they buy a car. So our work will help to make sure that those markets work fairly for consumers.” She concluded added: “Today’s decisions are unrelated to our investigation that several German carmakers might have broken EU competition rules. That is still ongoing”.
“We will be active in this area as long as we keep finding companies that hope to
make higher profits by colluding instead of competing.”
Previously, bearing suppliers and air conditioning component makers have been fined under the same anti-trust rules for colluding against vehicle manufacturers.