Dealers Ciceley, Road Range and Enza have admitted infringing competition law.
A fourth dealer, Northside, has avoided a fine after becoming the first company to come forward and co-operate with the investigations under the OFT’s leniency policy.
The probe centred on the distribution of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles across the North of England and parts of Wales and Scotland.
The nature of the infringements varies but all contain at least some element of market sharing, price coordination or exchange of commercially sensitive information.
The infringements being settled relate to:
- the distribution of vans between 15 January 2008 and 26 January 2010, involving Ciceley and Northside
- the distribution of vans between 1 February 2008 and 26 January 2010, involving Ciceley and Road Range
- the distribution of trucks between 8 December 2009 and 26 January 2010, involving Ciceley, Enza, Mercedes-Benz and Road Range.
Ali Nikpay, OFT 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.
“These cases also underline that the OFT can uncover cartels even in cases where the businesses involved do not blow the whistle, as well as being a concrete illustration of the benefits of businesses acting quickly and cooperating at the earliest opportunity so as to qualify for immunity from fines.”
The full details of the penalties are:
Mercedes-Benz UK Limited, its parent Daimler UK Limited and its ultimate parent Daimler AG (Mercedes) £1,492,646 Road Range Limited (Road Range) £115,774 Ciceley Commercials Limited and its ultimate parent Ciceley Limited (Ciceley) £659,675 Enza Motors Limited, its parent Enza Holdings Limited and its ultimate parent Enza Group Limited (Enza) £347,198