Fiat Chrysler, JLR, Renault, Nissan, PSA Under Possible Antitrust Investigation
The European Commission is said to be investigating several automotive companies over possible antitrust violations relating to the sale of auto parts. According to Germany’s Der Spiegel, Renault, Nissan, PSA, Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have all been placed under government scrutiny for possible price fixing. The report claims the manufacturers may have colluded to elevate the value of certain auto parts by as much as 25 percent.
Assuming the report is accurate, that would make this the EU’s second major automotive cartel investigation in the last two years.
In 2017, European anti-trust regulators grew concerned that the German auto industry was operating a cartel in which BMW, Volkswagen Group, and Daimler cooperated on decisions regarding emissions technology, supplier management, and price fixing. After a series of raids and a lengthy respite, without any new information on the subject, the European Commission followed up with an official investigation last fall.
Details on the new investigation are even sketchier. But the gist is that these automakers may have sold spare parts to customers at inflated prices, netting themselves around 2.5 billion euros of ill-gotten profit over the last ten years with help from a consulting firm based in Ireland. Der Spiegel claims the probe began back in December. However, as paper cited no direct sources, it’s unclear where it received its information or how serious the commission is taking the investigation.
Automotive News gave a brief recap of the story in English, reporting that Jaguar Land Rover, PSA and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment, while representatives from Renault and Nissan could not be reached. The European Commission also declined to respond.
While it may be naive to believe that multinational companies aren’t perpetually involved in illegal backroom deals with each other, Europe seems to be on a bit of an investigative tear lately. Reports of office raids are bizarrely common and rarely turn up the kind of concrete evidence necessary to blow the lid off things. Perhaps the EU just wants to keep a closer eye on the industry after Volkswagen’s diesel fiasco. We certainly know automakers are capable of pretty heinous behavior, but these subsequent probes never seem to gain much momentum or provide any closure.
[Image: Alexandr Kazharski/Shutterstock]
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