On 21 June 2017, the European Commission fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26.744.000 for participating in a cartel in breach of EU antitrust rules. The company Valeo received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel to the Commission.
The cartel concerned the production of vehicle lighting systems and in particular the supply of their spare 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, across the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Commission’s investigation revealed that the parties agreed that they should aim for a price increase on spare parts after the end of mass production of specific car models, and coordinated how long after that they would end contractual availability of the spare parts in question.
The agreements on coordinated prices and other trading conditions for the supply of vehicle lighting systems lasted for more than three years.
In setting the level of fines, the Commission took into account the companies’ sales generated in the EEA for that product market. The Commission also considered the serious nature of the infringement, its geographic scope and its duration.