Germany’s Continental, along with other tire manufacturers, found themselves under scrutiny as European Union antitrust regulators conducted raids on Tuesday, investigating suspicions of price coordination and cartel activities.
The European Commission, the competition enforcer for the 27-country European Union, confirmed the raids, emphasizing its commitment to maintaining fair competition within the market. While the commission did not disclose specific details about the companies involved, it stated that multiple tire manufacturers across various EU countries were targeted in the operation.
One of the companies explicitly mentioned in connection with the investigation is Continental. The German multinational confirmed the ongoing investigation by European antitrust authorities and assured cooperation with the authorities during the process.
The focus of the inspections is on new replacement tires for passenger cars, vans, trucks, and buses, sold in the European Economic Area, which comprises EU countries, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
“The Commission is concerned that price coordination took place amongst the inspected companies, including via public communications,” the EU executive explained in a statement. This suggests that the antitrust regulators are examining both internal communications and public statements made by the companies in question.
Under EU antitrust rules, companies found guilty of breaching fair competition standards could face fines of up to 10% of their global turnover. The severity of potential fines underscores the EU’s commitment to deterring anti-competitive practices and ensuring a level playing field for businesses.
The investigation raises questions about the extent to which tire manufacturers may have collaborated on pricing strategies, potentially harming consumers and restricting competition within the tire market. The outcome of the investigation will likely have far-reaching implications not only for the companies involved but also for the broader automotive industry.