EC Antitrust Officials Conduct Surprise Inspections of Aftermarket Tire Maker “Consultancy”

tires and sunset

The European Commission conducted surprise on-site inspections of a “consultancy firm” in two EU Member States, suspecting the firm of violating antitrust rules under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The inspections are part of a broader investigation into potential price coordination among aftermarket tire manufacturers, the Commission says, and follow similar actions earlier this year.

The investigators’ primary concern is that the consultancy facilitated or instigated price coordination among manufacturers, which would violate prohibitions against cartels and restrictive business practices. These practices, the Commission explained, could include the use of public communication channels to collude on prices, affecting the market for new replacement tires for passenger cars, vans, trucks, and buses within the European Economic Area.

Several major tire manufacturers, including Nokian Tyres (Finland), Pirelli (Italy), Continental (Germany), and Michelin (France), have confirmed their involvement in the investigation and are cooperating with authorities. The Commission emphasized that businesses operating secret cartels may receive immunity or reduced fines if they report the conduct through the Commission’s whistleblower channels.

According to Inkwood Research, the global aftermarket tire industry had a value of $75.05 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $106.46 billion by 2030.


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