The consumer watchdog said today that German carmarker Mercedes-Benz and five UK dealers of its trucks and vans may have broken competition law by co-operating illegally.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a provisional finding alleging that the Mercedes-Benz unit of German car group Daimler and five UK car dealers were involved in price-fixing and the sharing of commercially sensitive information between 2007 and 2010.
The OFT said that each alleged infringement involved two or three dealers and that its provisional finding was that Daimler's luxury car brand, Mercedes-Benz, was also involved in two of the alleged infringements.
"The precise content of the arrangements differs among the five alleged infringements, but all contain, to varying degrees, at least some element of market sharing, price co-ordination and/or exchange of commercially sensitive information," the OFT said in a statement.
"The evidence also suggests that, in respect of two of the alleged infringements, Mercedes-Benz helped to facilitate or consolidate the arrangements amongst the dealers."
The case involves car dealers in northern England, Wales and Scotland.
The watchdog added that the findings were provisional and that the parties would have a chance to respond before it decided whether competition law had been infringed.