Mercedes-Benz and its dealers 'may have fixed prices'

The UK consumer watchdog has said that Germany's 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 issued a provisional finding alleging that the Mercedes-Benz unit of German automotive group Daimler and five UK auto dealers were involved in price fixing and the sharing of commercially sensitive information between 2007 and 2010.

The OFT said each alleged infringement involved two or three dealers and its provisional finding was that 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 among the dealers."

Mercedes-Benz was not immediately available for comment.