London, United Kingdom— European Union antitrust regulators raided several automotive companies and associations Tuesday on suspicion of breaching the bloc’s cartel rules, Reuters reports. Britain’s competition authority has also launched a probe.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Britain’s competition watchdog, said on Tuesday it will be working alongside the European Commission to probe into the arrangements made by OEMs for the recycling of end-of-life vehicles.
French automaker Renault confirmed to Reuters it was “visited [Tuesday] by European Commission investigators” and said it was cooperating fully. Opel, a brand under Stellantis, also said its offices were searched by investigators.
“The subject of investigation is the area of recycling end-of-life vehicles,” Opel said in a statement. “Of course, we cooperate fully with the authorities.”
BMW said it had also received a request for information, to which it would respond.
In the U.K., automakers are obligated to offer customers free recycling services when their vehicle reaches the end of its lifespan. This service is often outsourced to third parties.
The European Commission said in a statement that they have conducted surprise inspections at a number of manufacturing facilities and found that several may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.
Both organizations say that it cannot be assumed that any laws have been broken at this time, however.