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© ginasanders dreamstime.com Business | June 22, 2017

Car lighting system producers pay EUR 27M in settlement

The EC has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of EUR 26'744'000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel. Valeo got a free pass for revealing the cartel to the Commission.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Commission has sanctioned another cartel in the automotive sector. Three lighting producers harmed car and commercial vehicle manufacturers by colluding instead of competing against each other. Today's decision underlines that we do not accept cartels that affect the European market.”

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. Moreover, 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.

Fines

Reduction; LeniencyReduction; SettlementFine (EUR)
Valeo100%10%0
Automotive Lighting35%10%16'347'000
Hella20%10%10'397'000
Total26'744'000

  • Valeo received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, thereby avoiding a fine of more than EUR 30,5 million.
  • Automotive Lighting and Hella benefited from reductions of their fines for their cooperation with the investigation.

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November 14 2017 8:30 PM V8.8.9-1