Mercedes-Benz fined over alleged market rigging

 

Mercedes-Benz and three commercial vehicle dealers are to pay fines totalling £2.6 million following an inquiry into market rigging.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) identified three separate breaches of competition law in relation to market sharing, price co-ordination and the exchange of commercially sensitive information.

The case, which centres on the distribution of Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans in the north of England and parts of Wales and Scotland, resulted in a fine of £1.5 million for the Daimler-owned company.

Ciceley, which has dealerships in Bolton, Blackburn, Carlisle and Dumfries, was fined £659,675, while the penalties for Enza Motors of Warrington, Stoke, Trafford Park and Manchester and North-Wales based Road Range were £347,000 and £115,000 respectively. A further dealer, Yorkshire-based Northside, avoided a fine as it provided evidence of collusion in return for immunity.

The OFT said two of the breaches related to the distribution of vans involving Ciceley and Northside and Ciceley and Road Range over a two-year period starting in early 2008.

The third breach involved the distribution of trucks between December 2009 and the following January and related to Ciceley, Enza, Mercedes-Benz and Road Range.

Ali Nikpay, OFT senior director of cartels, said: "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 UK spokesman said: "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 programmes. The company and its staff have fully co-operated with the investigators over the past three years."

The spokesman went on: "This thorough OFT investigation took three years to complete, and the agreed settlement with Mercedes-Benz UK relates to one meeting held in late 2009. The settlement figure, based on company turnover, is £1.49 million.

"The settlement reached with the OFT draws the investigation into this matter to a close. Mercedes-Benz takes its responsibilities under competition law seriously and has taken all appropriate steps to ensure all its staff comply fully with the law."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...