By Robin Struijlaart

The automotive sector remains under close scrutiny of the European Commission. The recent press release of the European Commission on the opening of a formal investigation into German car manufacturers constitutes a new chapter in a line of cartel investigations into the automotive sector that has been going on for several years now. This new investigation may very well not be the last.

In an earlier press release dated 23 October 2017, the European Commission confirmed that its officials carried out inspections at the premises of several car manufacturers in Germany. These inspections were related to concerns that the German car manufacturers may have colluded with the aim of coordinating and slowing down technical development of passenger cars. Agreements to limit or control technical development are prohibited under the EU cartel prohibition and are punishable by substantial fines of up 10 percent of annual group turnover.