In a statement yesterday (15 March), the CMA said it “has reason to suspect anti-competitive behaviour has taken place involving a number of vehicle manufacturers, and some industry bodies”.
However, it said that at this stage, “no assumptions should be made about whether competition law has been broken”.
The competition body is also working closely with the European Commission, which has also launched an investigation into this matter yesterday (15 March).
The investigation could last until December 2022.
The CMA explained: “The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any of the parties under investigation.
“Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections”.
ELVs are vehicles, specifically cars and vans, categorised as waste, generally due to age-related failure or accident, which regulation requires are disposed of in a sustainable way. The CMA said vehicle manufacturers have a duty to offer a free service for recycling ELVs, often outsourced to third parties.
The CMA said it “may issue a statement of objections if it comes to the provisional view that competition law has been infringed” following investigation and information gathering.
The CMA also explained that under its leniency policy, a business that has been involved in certain types of anti-competitive conduct “may be granted immunity from penalties or a significant reduction in penalty in return for reporting cartel activity and assisting the CMA with its investigation”.
The competition body will normally publish the names of the parties under investigation as soon as possible when a formal investigation is opened, other than in exceptional circumstances, such as where doing so could, in the CMA’s view, prejudice a CMA investigation or an investigation of one of the CMA’s enforcement partners.