The European Commission has raided parts makers Faurecia, Tenneco Inc. and a number of several auto exhaust systems manufacturers as part of its efforts to go after those involved in suspected price-fixing in the global auto industry. The Commission said the companies raided may have taken part in a cartel and abused their dominant positions.
The raids, however, do not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior, the Commission said in a statement. While the European Union anti-trust agency named neither the companies nor the countries where the raids took place, Faurecia confirmed them, saying that it is cooperating fully with the authorities. French supplier Faurecia remarked that its "strict code of ethics" forbids price-fixing or any other breaches of antitrust law.
Chicago-based Tenneco disclosed that regulators in Europe and the United States asked for information "as part of an ongoing global antitrust investigation concerning multiple automotive suppliers." Tenneco said that Commission officials were at Tenneco GmbH’s Edenkoben office in Germany to collect information for the antitrust investigation. "Tenneco has also received a related subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice," the US supplier said in a statement. It said that it is fully cooperating with the authorities.
German exhaust system maker Eberspaecher likewise said it was cooperating with EU authorities. In recent years, competition regulators in the US, Japan, Europe and Canada have imposed multi-dollar fines against car parts makers for fixing prices of products ranging from seatbelts, radiators and windshield wipers to air-conditioning systems. In the US, an ongoing probe by the Justice Department's anti-trust unit has already resulted in the prosecution of 29 executives and 26 companies and fines of over $2.25 billion. [source: automotive news - sub. required]