An investigation by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading into Mercedes-Benz and five of its commercial vehicle dealers is now at a pivotal stage.
A Statement of Objections, the document that gives notice of a proposed infringement decision under the Competition Act 1998, has been issued to:
Mercedes-Benz UK Limited, its parent Daimler UK Limited and its ultimate parent Daimler AG
Ciceley Commercials Limited and its ultimate parent Ciceley Limited
Enza Motors Limited, its parent Enza Holdings Limited and its ultimate parent Enza Group Limited
H&L Garages Limited and its parent Dusted Powder Limited
Northside Truck & Van Limited and its ultimate parent S.A.H. Limited
Road Range Limited
Although the OFT will not be publishing the Statement of Objections, confirmation has been given that it details five separate alleged breaches involving market sharing, price co-ordination and / or the exchange of commercially sensitive information.
The suspected violations all took place between March 2007 and January 2010, and each involved two or three dealers. Furthermore, two also concerned Mercedes-Benz UK.
Ali Nikpay, OFT Senior Director of Cartels, said: “Based on the evidence currently before us, we have reason to believe that these dealers co-operated to limit competition in their areas.
“This case, which involves dealers who are mainly active in areas within the North of England and parts of Wales and Scotland, shows the OFT’s commitment to pursuing allegations of serious competition law infringements irrespective of the size of the companies involved or the geographic scope of the case.
“These are the OFT’s provisional findings only. All parties will now have a full opportunity to respond to our statement before we decide whether competition law has in fact been infringed.”
This current investigation is not linked to the OFT’s 2010 probe into alleged price fixing by truck manufacturers in the UK, which was closed without any action being taken.
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