The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has fined Mercedes-Benz and three commercial vehicle dealers a total of £2.6 million after they admitted breaching competition law.
Mercedes-Benz was fined £1.5m, with the rest of the total split between Ciceley Commercials, Enza Motors and Road Range. The dealers mainly operate in northern England and Wales, although Ciceley – which was fined more than £650,000 – has a branch in Dumfries.
A further dealer, Northside, will avoid a fine if it continues to co-operate with regulators because it was the first company to come forward after the investigation started and provided “valuable evidence of collusion in return for immunity from penalty under the OFT’s leniency policy”.
The OFT said the nature of the infringements varied, but all contained at least some element of market sharing, price co-ordination or the exchange of commercially-sensitive information.
Ali Nikpay, the watchdog’s senior director of cartels, said: “These cases send a clear signal that the OFT will take firm action against companies that collude to deny customers the benefit of fair competition regardless of the size of the firms involved or geographic scope of the investigation.”