- 25 Sep 2020
- Here, there. Commonly in Denmark
EU penalised automotive supplier Eberspächer for cartel.
The automotive supplier Eberspächer must pay a cartel fine of 68 million euros. The exhaust and air conditioning specialist, a family business from Esslingen, had colluded with its Bavarian competitor Webasto for more than ten years not to compete with each other, the EU Commission in Brussels announced on Wednesday.
Both companies had coordinated their prices for parking heaters and auxiliary heaters and thus kept them artificially high. The companies also divided up their customers among themselves. According to the EU authorities, they exchanged their annual price lists when selling to dealers and equalised their discounts for dealers.
In March, the authorities seized evidence during an unannounced visit. Eberspächer stated that the company had fully supported the antitrust investigation from the outset. In addition, all necessary steps had been taken to prevent future antitrust violations: "The compliance programme introduced several years ago has been significantly expanded and all sales employees have been trained in appropriate conduct within the framework of competition law regulations."
Agreements to the detriment of companies and consumers are prohibited in the EU. According to the EU Commission, the offence in this case was particularly serious because Eberspächer and Webasto are the only manufacturers of parking heaters in Europe. Parking heaters heat parked cars or lorries, while auxiliary heaters support the heating of running engines. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "This cheating was at the expense of a large part of the European automotive industry and ultimately car and lorry buyers." The collusion lasted from 2001 to 2011.
Webasto was completely exempted from the fine because the company had informed the EU Commission about the cartel. Otherwise, a fine of 222 million euros would have been imposed.
Maybe some still dislike the German companies or believe their current, higher, prices aren't fully justified. Probably better than the knockoffs, but that many times better??