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Italy: AGCM sanctions cartel for car sales financing

 |  January 14, 2019

On December 20, 2018, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) concluded an investigation launched against the leading captive banks and related automotive groups operating in Italy in the sale of vehicles by means of financial products, as well as their trade associations.

The investigation was initiated following the submission of a request for leniency by Daimler and Mercedes Benz Financial Services Italia, and assessed the implementation of a single, complex, continuous cartel involving the exchange of sensitive information on current and future quantities and prices.

In particular, the AGCM established that, between 2003 and 2017, Bank PSA Italia, Banque PSA Finance, Santander Consumer Bank, BMW Bank, BMW, Daimler, Mercedes Benz Financial Services Italia, FCA Bank, FCA Italy, CA Consumer Finance, FCE Bank, Ford Motor Company, General Motor Financial Italia, General Motors Company, RCI Banque, Renault, Toyota Financial Services, Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen Bank, Volkswagen, as well as the trade associations Assofin and Assilea, implemented an agreement restricting competition aimed at altering the competitive dynamics in the market of car sales of their parent groups through financing issued by the respective captive banks.

In view of the severity and duration of the infringement, the Authority adopted a fining decision of a total of approximately €678 million (US$777.9 million).

The AGCM also awarded the benefit of full immunity from sanctions to Daimler and Mercedes Benz Financial Services Italia, which thus avoided, as leniency applicants, a fine exceeding €60 million (US$68.8 million).

During the proceedings, the AGCM was supported by the Special Antitrust Unit of the Italian Guardia di Finanza.

Full Content: AGCM

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