The Federal German Cartel Office has fined five automotive acoustic parts suppliers a total of 75 million euros ($83.1 million) for their roles in price fixing.
The companies make some plastic parts, plus carpet and floor mats.
The Autoneum Germany subsidiary of the Swiss company Autoneum (formerly Rieter Automotive) in Rossdorf said it had been fined $32.8 million. Others fined were International Automotive Components Group's plant in Dusseldorf, Carcoustics International in Leverkusen, Ideal Automotive in Burgebrach and Greiner Perfoam in Enns, Austria.
Although a sixth company, Johann Borgers, also was involved in the price fixing, the cartel office did not fine it because it was the first of the companies to cooperate with the investigation. All of the accused companies cooperated with the agency; otherwise the fines would have been higher.
Andreas Mundt, president of the cartel office, said the companies had "agreed on and coordinated prices in their bids for tenders and orders placed by car manufacturers at least from 2005 to 2013, by agreeing not to target the existing business and follow-on orders of their competitors."
The agreements had covered, for example, "minimum price levels, passing on of raw material price increase, discounts, tool cost compensation and contract escalation clauses," he said.
The parts involved were acoustic dampening components such as sound-deadening flooring, car mats, parcel shelves, trunk trim, textile wheel housing shells, engine compartment and dashboard insulation and front and trunk shock absorbers.
It said most of the fines are not yet final and can be appealed, but that a settlement to end all proceedings has been agreed to with all of the fined companies. The agency said an investigation of another company is ongoing.