The EC found that Eberspächer and Webasto coordinated prices and allocated customers with regards to fuel-operated parking heaters (which heat parked cars or trucks) and auxiliary heaters (which support the heating system of a running car or truck). The Commission imposed a fine of € 68 175 000 on Eberspächer for its involvement in the cartel. This fine was reduced under the Commission's leniency programme to reflect Eberspächer's cooperation with the investigation. Webasto was not fined because it benefited from immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel to the Commission. Both companies agreed to settle the case with the Commission, so that Eberspächer's fine was reduced by a further 10%.
The Commission's investigation started with an unannounced inspection at Eberspächer's premises in July 2013. It showed that over a period of 10 years, from September 2001 until September 2011, Webasto and Eberspächer coordinated prices and allocated customers in the entire European Economic Area (EEA). 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 harmonising their annual price lists and the discounts they would give to these dealers.
In the US, Hausfeld filed a law suit against Espar for illegal price-fixing in the parking heaters aftermarket. To learn more please click here.