EU Commission launches collusion probe in ELV recycling sector

The competition authorities of the EU and UK are investigating alleged anti-competitive activities in relation to the recycling of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). The anti-trust watchdogs have concerns that several companies and associations in the automotive sector may have violated antitrust rules. The companies and organisations under investigation are suspected of collusion in relation to the collection, treatment and recovery of cars and vans which are written off after accidents or scrapped due to their age. According to the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the case involves "a number of vehicle manufacturers, and some industry bodies".

The EU Commission reports that it has conducted “unannounced inspections at the premises of companies and associations active in the automotive sector located in several member states” on 15 March, accompanied by officials from national competition authorities. In parallel, the Commission has sent out “formal requests for information to several companies active in the automotive sector”. The inspections were conducted in coordination with Britain's CMA.

The EU Commission stressed that the inspections and information requests constitute a "preliminary investigatory step". "The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections and sends out formal requests for information does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself." The Commission also pointed out that there is no legal deadline for the completion of inquiries into anticompetitive conduct: "Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the companies and associations concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence."

Update: According to Bloomberg, Mercedes-Benz blew the whistle and has applied for leniency. BWM said it was not raided but received a request for information. Volkswagen declined to comment. Stellantis group member Opel said that it had been raided and was cooperating with the authorities, the news agency reported....

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