Spain investigating several carmakers for price-fixing image

Spain’s antitrust regulator CNC said it is investigating possible price fixing in the country by automakers such as Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Toyota, General Motors and Ford.

The probe will examine evidence that affiliates of those automakers and more shared market-sensitive information to set prices and service contracts. The investigation, which targets both the companies and their Spanish distributors, was a priority “given the serious consequences for consumers,” the CNC said.

“These are considered very serious [alleged] infringements that could lead to fines of up to 10 percent of total [Spanish] annual turnover,” the CNC said in a statement.

Spanish carmakers have struggled for business against the backdrop of a five-year economic slump that, along with an unemployment rate above 25 percent, has depressed demand for consumer goods. Still, they have been able to draw on a government scheme to subsidize purchases of new cars, extended by 70 million euros ($92 million) in July after an initial program expired.

Unfortunately, sales of new cars in the country dropped 18% year-on-year in August, manufacturers’ association Anfac said on Monday.