Valeo, Automotive Lighting and Hella labelled a cartel by the EU, fined €27 million

By Real GDPR

The European Commission has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26,744,000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

Valeo was not fined as it revealed the cartel to the Commission, saving itself more than €30 million in fines. All companies admitted their involvement and agreed to settle.

The cartel concerned the supply of spare parts (such as headlamps) 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 in Europe.

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.

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.”

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.

Automotive Lighting was fined around €16 million, with Hella having to pay the rest of the sum.

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