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March 9, 2017

EC hits six auto suppliers with EUR155m cartel fine

Six automotive suppliers have been fined a total of EUR155m (US$164m) by the European Commission (EC) for taking part in one or more of four cartels concerning supplies of air conditioning and engine cooling components to car manufacturers in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Six automotive suppliers have been fined a total of EUR155m (US$164m) by the European Commission (EC) for taking part in one or more of four cartels concerning supplies of air conditioning and engine cooling components to car manufacturers in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The suppliers were Behr, Calsonic, Denso, Panasonic, Sanden and Valeo, with all six acknowledging their involvement in the cartels and agreeing to settle the case.

Denso was not fined for three of the cartels as it revealed their existence to the Commission. Panasonic was not fined for one of the cartels as it revealed its existence to the EC.

“Even though air conditioning and cooling components are not something you see as products, they are very much something you feel,” said EC Competition Policy Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

“In this case you might also have felt it in your wallet even though temperatures would still be regulated in your car.

“[The] decision underlines we do not accept cartels that affect the European market, wherever and however they may be organised.”

The six car component suppliers addressed in the decision coordinated prices or markets and exchanged sensitive information, for the supply of climate control components and engine cooling components to certain car manufacturers in the EEA.

The coordination took place at meetings, notably through trilateral meetings in Europe in one of the cartels and through other collusive contacts in Europe and Japan through bilateral meetings, by email or phone.

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