Yesterday (15 March), many large automakers were raided on suspicion of anti-competitive conduct in connection with the recycling of old or scrapped cars and vans.
EU antitrust regulators raided several automotive companies and associations in several countries on suspicion of anti-competitive conduct, while the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), also launched a probe.
The European Commission sent companies requests for information. The EU competition enforcer said in a statement: “The inspections and requests for information concern possible collusion in relation to the collection, treatment and recovery of end-of-life cars and vans which are considered waste.”
In Reuters, carmakers reacted to the raids:
Renault said it was cooperating fully after it: “confirms that it was visited today (15 March) by European Commission investigators.”
Opel, a brand of Stellantis, said its offices had been searched by investigators, saying in a statement: “The subject of investigation is the area of recycling end-of-life vehicles.” Adding: “Of course, we cooperate fully with the authorities.”
German carmaker, BMW, said it had received a request for information and would respond.
Mercedes Benz said it did not expect to be fined because it had approached the EU regulator and Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority with information as a “leniency applicant.”
Ford said in a statement that it had been served with a notice by CMA: “relating to the recycling of old or written-off vehicles, specifically cars and vans, also known as end-of-life vehicles.” Adding: “Given the situation is ongoing it would be inappropriate for us to say more at this stage except to state that we will fully cooperate with the CMA’s review.”
Volkswagen and Audi both declined to comment. And a spokesman for Ferrari said the carmaker had not been raided by investigators.
Companies found breaching EU cartel rules face fines up to 10% of their global turnover.
The CMA said it was investigating a number of unnamed automakers and some industry bodies in its own end-of-life vehicle probe, and that it was cooperating with the Commission.