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Auto part makers' €368 million EU fine

March 5, 2019

The EU's anti-trust regulator has issued huge fines to two auto-safety equipment suppliers for running cartels. Autoliv and TRW colluded to fix prices of car parts to Volkswagen and BMW.

Driving wheel assembly from Autoliv
Image: picture-alliance/maxppp/dbordier

Two manufacturers of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels were fined €368 million ($416 million) by the European Commission on Tuesday, in the latest antitrust case against car-part suppliers.

The US, Michigan-headquartered TRW Automotive will pay €189 million, while Autoliv, based in Stockholm, Sweden, has been fined €179 million penalty.

The pair, along with a third supplier, Takata of Japan, were found to have colluded as suppliers of safety equipment to German auto giants Volkswagen and BMW between 2007 and 2011.

Read more: VW and Microsoft put their heads together in the digital cloud

Takata was not fined the €195 million the commission initially set because it blew the whistle on the cartel.

All three acknowledged involvement and agreed to settle, and TRW Automotive and Autoliv having their fines reduced for cooperation.

Competition damaged

"These cartels ultimately hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

This coordination, which was aimed at boosting profits, occurred "through meetings at the suppliers' business premises but also in restaurants and hotels, as well as through phone calls and e-mail exchanges," the commission said in a statement.

Read more: Porsche obliged to pay €10 million after tax blunder

Autoliv said it had made a provision of $210 million for the fine in the fourth quarter, which it has 90 days to pay.

The settlement is the latest in a series of commission fines against car-part suppliers, which now total 2.15 billion euros since 2013.

It is also the second time that Autoliv and TRW Automotive have been fined.

The commission, which polices competition in the EU, says any person or company affected by the two cartels' actions can seek damages in court.

mm/jm (AP, DPA)

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