CADE’s General Superintendence opens investigation in automotive components market
The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE opened, on 13 February 2015, three administrative proceedings to investigate alleged cartel practices in the national and international auto parts markets. The potentially affected segments were the ones of clutch facings (Administrative Proceeding no. 08700.010321/2012-89), thermal systems, which include radiators, capacitors, air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems (Administrative Proceeding no.08700.010323/2012-78), and windshield wipers (Administrative Proceeding no.08700.010320/2012-34).
The Superintendence verified evidence that at least 11 companies and 51 individuals - whose actions are divided in their respective investigated markets in the proceedings – kept permanent contact aiming at fixing prices and commercial conditions, at allocating customers quotes orders, and at sharing markets between competitors and sensible commercial information.
The evidence points that the companies’ employees previously agreed on who would win the request for quotation (RFQs) of the automobile industries and adopted strategies to influence the agreements between them. These practices would have restricted the competitive aspect of the request for quotation and potentially affected negatively the automobile costs.
According to the investigations, the anticompetitive conducts were possibly held between the 1990s and middle 2012.
With the formal opening of the administrative proceedings, the investigated parties will be notified to present their defenses. Once the investigation phase in complete, CADE’s General Superintendence will issue an opinion for the condemnation or the filing of the case. CADE’s Tribunal will be responsible for final decision.
Sector’s investigation – The three above mentioned administrative proceedings opened on 13 February are part of a larger group of investigations held by the General Superintendence in the automotive components market.
In the second semester of 2014, two other proceedings to investigate cartels in this market were opened, one concerning spark plugs (Administrative Proceeding no.08700.005789/2014-13) and the other antifriction bearings(Administrative Proceeding no.08012.005324/2012-59).
Also in August 2014, the Superintendence carried out dawn raids to investigate possible cartel practices in other four automotive components markets, which may result in the opening of new proceedings. The markets are the ones of automotive lightning (headlights, taillights and brake lights); hazard switches (blinkers and arrow key); access mechanisms (cylinders, door handles, locks and steering locks) and automotive clutches.