Brussels: The EU today hit four maritime car transporters with a €395-million fine as well as slapping penalties on auto parts manufacturers including Germany’s Bosch and Continental.
An investigation by the bloc found that Chilean carrier CSAV, Japan’s “K” Line, MOL and NYK, and the Norwegian-Swedish WWL-EUKOR had run a cartel over six years to fix prices and allocate customers in the market for the deep sea transport of cars, trucks and other vehicles.
Bosch and Continental were among a group of companies fined for operating cartels in the supply of spark plugs and braking systems.
“By raising component prices or transport costs for cars, the cartels ultimately hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector, which employs around 12 million people in the EU,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
MOL revealed the existence of the transport agreement to the authorities and as a result escaped without a fine.
In the spark plug cartel, Bosch was fined 46 million euros and Japan’s NGK 30 million euros for agreeing not to compete with each other for traditional customers, swapping sensitive information and fixing prices.
Bosch and Continental, along with TRW of the United States, were also found to have colluded over the supply of braking systems to BMW and Volkswagen.