Swiss competition watchdog WEKO has fined eight car leasing companies a collective amount of 30m Swiss francs (€27m, £24.2m) over their roles in information swapping and price fixing.
Companies fined include 8.5m Swiss francs for AMAG Leasing, 6.6m for BMW Financial Services Switzerland, 4.4m for FCA Capital Suisse, 2.8m for Multilease, 2.1m for Opel Finance, 2.4m for PSA Finance Suisse, and 3.1m for RCI Finance.
According to WEKO, the companies exchanged information about events that were valid during events, as well as details on how to calculate a lease, residual value tables and contract fees. With the exception of Ford Credit Switzerland, all companies have entered into a mutually agreed settlement with Weko and have agreed to cease any such illegal operations in the future.
Reuters has reported that the decision from WEKO may be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court. While part of the pricing scheme Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Schweiz will not have to pay a fine due to its role as a whistleblower about the scheme.
According to Swiss-German newspaper Blick, the price agreements took place between 2006 and 2014. In 2014, WEKO initiated its investigation. For passenger cars alone, almost 150,000 new contracts were signed last year, while every second new car in Switzerland is financed by a lease.
In January this year the Italian AGCM fined car companies a combined €670m for their role in a long-running price fixing scheme. The largest fine was reserved for the Italian division of FCA Bank who were fined €178.9m, while Mercedes Benz Financial Services escaped a fine due to their role in revealing the illegal activity to authorities.
In November last year it was reported that a London-based solicitors firm is looking for companies that leased or bought HGVs between 1997 and 2011 from major truck manufacturers following a major price-fixing truck cartel scandal revealed two years ago.
Edwin Coe is calling on any business which purchased, leased or outsourced trucks weighing six tonnes or more between 1997 and 2012 to join the lawsuit, which will sit in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.