BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- The European Commission has fined Germany's Eberspaecher Group 68 million euros ($76.6 million) after finding Eberspaecher and fellow supplier Webasto had fixed prices of heating systems in cars and trucks.
The Commission said the two suppliers had coordinated prices of fuel-operated parking heaters for parked vehicles and auxiliary heaters for 10 years from 2001.
Webasto avoided a potential fine of 222 million euros because it revealed the existence of the cartel. Eberspaecher benefited from reductions due to its cooperation with the investigation and its agreement to settle with the Commission.
"For over 10 years, the only two suppliers of parking heaters in Europe colluded to avoid competing with each other. This cozy arrangement adversely affected a major part of the European automotive industry and ultimately those who buy cars and trucks," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
The Commission said that when the companies received requests for price quotations from car or truck manufacturers, they discussed various price elements, agreed which of the two would submit the winning lower bid, and exchanged other commercially sensitive information.
"The two companies also colluded when selling to dealers in Germany and Austria, for example by harmonizing their annual price lists and the discounts they would give to these dealers," the Commission said.