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EC fines three car lighting system producers €27 million in cartel settlement

Staff Writer |
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.

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Valeo was not fined as it revealed the cartel to the Commission. All companies admitted their involvement and agreed to settle.

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.

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