Three dealers in UK, Wales, Scotland all fined
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/01/2013 -- The Mercedes-Benz company and three vehicle dealers have all been ordered to pay fines that total £2.6 million following an inquiry into market rigging.
The Office of Fair Trading noted three separate breaches of the competition law in relation to the market sharing, price coordinating, and other exchange measures within the companies.
The case was centered around the distribution of Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans in the north of England and into parts of Wales and Scotland, which resulted in a fine of £1.5 million for the parent company, Daimler.
The dealership Ciceley, which is in Bolton, Blackburn, Carlisle, and Dumfries, was fined £659,675. Penalties to Enza Motors of Werrington, Gtoke, Trafford Mark, and Manchester, were fined £347,000 and £115,000. A Yorkshire-based dealer was also fined, but its name was expunged due to the providing of information in the case.
The OFT has stated that two of the breaches related to the distribution of vans over a two-year period in early of 2008 until 2010.
The third breach was involving trucks and occurred in December of 2009.
Ali Nikpay, who is the OFT's senior director of cartels, stated: "These cases send a clear signal that the OFT will take firm action against companies that collude to deny customers the benefit of fair competition regardless of the size of the firms involved or geographic scope of the investigation.
"These examples also underline that the OFT can uncover cartels even in cases where the businesses involved do not blow the whistle, as well as being a concrete illustration of the benefits of businesses acting quickly and co-operating at the earliest opportunity so as to qualify for immunity from fines."
A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson stated: "We have reached a settlement with the OFT for one infringement of competition law relating to its recent investigation into the company and three of its commercial vehicle dealers operating in northern England and Wales. Mercedes-Benz regrets the incident and has learned a lot from it.
"The company has strengthened its internal controls, and every member of staff participates in comprehensive and ongoing integrity training programs. The company and its staff have fully co-operated with the investigators over the past three years."
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