On March 5, 2019, the Commission fined car safety equipment suppliers Autoliv and TRW €368 million for breaching Article 101 TFEU by taking part in two infringements consisting of an exchange of commercially sensitive information and illegal coordination in relation to the supply of car seatbelts, airbags, and steering wheels to Volkswagen and BMW.[1] Autoliv and TRW qualified for leniency and benefitted from, respectively, 30% and 50% fine reductions. Takata, another addressee of the decision, received full immunity as it was first to report the two infringements to the Commission. The decision ends the second part of a Commission’s investigation in car safety systems, which was bifurcated and led to a first decision in November 2017.[2] In the first decision, the Commission fined car safety equipment suppliers for four infringements related to the supply of the same products to Asian car manufacturers, including Toyota, Suzuki, and Honda. The bifurcation of the investigation departed from the Commission’s previous practice to investigate related infringements in single proceedings, particularly in the automotive parts industry.[3]

[1]      See Commission Press Release IP/19/1512 “Antitrust: Commission fines car safety equipment suppliers € 368 million in cartel settlement”, March 5, 2019.

[2]      Occupant Safety Systems (Case COMP/AT.39881), Commission decision of November 22, 2017.

[3]      See Automotive Wire Harnesses (Case COMP/AT.39748), Commission decision of July 10, 2013 and Thermal systems (Case, COMP/AT.39960), Commission decision of March 8, 2017.