On June 21, 2017, the European Commission has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26.744.000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel.
The cartel concerned the supply of vehicle lighting systems, that include parts such as headlamps or daytime running lights, to manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles after the end of mass production of a car model. The Commission’s investigation revealed that, for more than three years, Automotive Lighting, Hella and Valeo coordinated prices and other trading conditions for the supply of vehicle lighting systems across the European Economic Area (EEA).
The companies discussed quotes for tenders and negotiation strategies. They also exchanged information on the status of negotiations with customers regarding price increases. Moreover, they agreed at increasing the spare parts price after the end of mass production of specific car models and coordinated how long after that they would end contractual availability of those spare parts.
Following the investigation as a result of Valeo’s leniency application, the parties reached a settlement with the Commission and obtained a reduction of the fine by admitting their participation in the infringement.
In setting the level of fines the Commission took into account the companies’ sales generated in the EEA from the supply of spare automotive lighting systems to the manufacturers of passenger and commercial vehicles after the end of mass production of a car model.
Under the Commission’s 2006 Leninency Notice, Valeo received full immunity and avoided a fine of more than €30,5 million. Automotive Lighting and Hella benefited from reductions of their fines for their cooperation with the investigation.
In addition, under the Commission’s 2008 Settlement Notice, the Commission applied a reduction of 10% to the fines imposed in view of the parties’ acknowledgment of their participation in the cartel. The fines were set as below:
|Reduction under the Leniency Notice||Reduction under the Settlement Notice||Fine (€)|
|Automotive Lighting||35 %||
|16 347 000|
|10 397 000|
|Total||26 744 000|