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© Niroworld Dreamstime.com Components | November 22, 2017

Antitrust: Commission fines five car safety equipment suppliers

The European Commission has fined Tokai Rika, Takata, Autoliv, Toyoda Gosei and Marutaka a total of EUR 34 million for breaching EU antitrust rules.
According to the Commission the companies took part in one – or more – of four cartels regarding the supply of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to Japanese car manufactures in the EEA.

All five suppliers acknowledged their involvement in the cartels and agreed to settle the case. Takata was not fined for three of the cartels as it revealed their existence to the Commission. Tokai Rika was not fined for one of the cartels as it revealed its existence to the Commission, a press release reads.

“Seatbelts and airbags protect lives every day and are essential in all cars in the EU. The five suppliers fined today colluded to maximise their profits from the sale of these components. This may have raised the costs of these car parts for a number of manufacturers selling cars in Europe, potentially affecting consumers," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy.

The five car component suppliers addressed in this decision coordinated prices or markets, and exchanged sensitive information for the supply of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to Japanese car manufacturers Toyota, Suzuki and Honda in the European Economic Area (EEA). The coordination to form and run the cartel took place outside the EEA, notably in Japan, mainly through meetings at the suppliers' business premises but also in restaurants and hotels, as well as through e-mail exchanges. Collusion between the car safety equipment suppliers generally intensified when specific requests for quotations were launched by the car manufacturers concerned. The Commission's investigation revealed the existence of four separate infringements.

Takata received full immunity for revealing three of the cartels and thereby avoiding a fine of about EUR 74 million). Tokai Rika received full immunity for revealing one of the cartels and thus avoided a fine of about. EUR 15 million).

In total Takata was fined with EUR 12.724 million, Autoliv was fined EUR 8.05 million, Toyoda Gosei received a fine of EUR 11.26 million, Tokai Rika’s fine amounted to 1.81 million and Marutaka was fined EUR 156’000.

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December 13 2017 10:15 PM V8.9.2-1