As did the United States last autumn, the EU is now preparing to sanction several car parts manufacturers for taking part in a cartel. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told the German press, on 8 January, that "I am very surprised by the car industry. We suspect there are cartels for almost all the parts required to make a car. It's unbelievable, and decisions will be made in 2014".

For around two years, Almunia's services have been carrying out surprise inspections in different car parts sectors, particularly security systems for passengers (seatbelts, airbags) and heating and lighting systems.These inspections constitute the first stage of an inquiry aiming to dismantle a cartel, and sanction members who break Community competition rules by price-fixing or exchanging strategic information on the markets concerned.

A first batch of 141,791,000 in fines was...

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