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EU fines car lighting systems cartel EUR 27m

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EU fines car lighting systems cartel EUR 27m

Margrethe Vestager - Photo © European Union 2017

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of EUR 27 million Wednesday for participating in a cartel concerning the supply of vehicle lighting systems in the European Economic Area.

The cartel related to the supply of vehicle lighting systems to manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles after the end of mass production of a car model. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle.

"Three lighting producers harmed car and commercial vehicle manufacturers by colluding instead of competing against each other," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Vehicle lighting systems include parts such as headlamps or daytime running lights. The cartel concerned the supply of these spare parts to manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles after the end of mass production of a car model.

The Commission's investigation revealed that, for more than three years, Automotive Lighting, Hella and Valeo coordinated prices and other trading conditions for the supply of vehicle lighting systems, across the European Economic Area (EEA).

The three companies met, mainly bilaterally, at trade fairs, on the margins of supplier days organised by customers, during customer visits, but also independently of such events.

The companies discussed quotes for tenders and negotiation strategies and exchanged information on the status of negotiations with customers regarding price increases, as well as other information. And the parties agreed that they should aim for a price increase on spare parts after the end of mass production of specific car models, and coordinated how long after that they would end contractual availability of the spare parts in question.

Automotive Lighting and Hella benefited from reductions of their fines for their cooperation with the Commission investigation.

In addition, under the Commission's 2008 Settlement Notice, the Commission applied a reduction of 10% to the fines imposed on the companies in view of their acknowledgement of the participation in the cartel and of the liability in this respect.

Valeo was not fined as it revealed the cartel to the Commission.

More information on this case will be available under the case number AT.40013 in the public case register on the Commission's competition website, once confidentiality issues have been resolved. More information on the Commission's action against cartels is available on its cartels website.


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