BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche & Bentley – Alleged Price-Fixing Among German Automakers

On July 28, 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal reported that “[a] suit filed in federal court in New Jersey accuses German luxury carmakers of colluding to sell their cars at inflated prices in the United States.”

BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche & Bentley Accused of Participating in A 20-Year Conspiracy

The New Jersey Law Journal also reported that

[t]he [class action lawsuit] accuses the makers of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Bentley vehicles of participating in a 20-year conspiracy to unlawfully increase their vehicles’ prices through collaboration on technology, suppliers and emissions controls, according to the suit. Filed . . . on behalf of a nationwide class of car buyers, the [class action lawsuit] comes amid media reports that the companies face price-fixing investigations in the U.S. and Europe. A similar suit was filed on behalf of Canadian car buyers . . . in Montreal.

U.S. Department of Justice Investigating Antitrust Allegations

Further, the New Jersey Law Journal also reported that

[a]ccording to the [class action lawsuit], the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it is investigating the antitrust allegations, the plaintiffs said. The European Commission announced on July 22 that it was investigating antitrust allegations against the defendants, and the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s antitrust regulator, has confirmed that it received information from the defendants that may relate to operation of an antitrust cartel dating to the early 1990s. The statute of limitations was tolled by fraudulent concealment because no information about the alleged antitrust activities were available until July 21, when German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Volkswagen had disclosed participation in antitrust violations resulting from coordination with other German automakers about development of vehicles, cost suppliers and strategies for controlling emissions in diesel engines from at least the 1990s to the present, the suit said. News about the allegations caused the defendants’ share prices to plummet in German stock markets.

Automaker Collusion Harmed Buyers

According to a July 29, 2017 MirrorBusiness article:

. . . German auto giants Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler were hit with lawsuits this week charging the companies colluded illegally to drive up the prices of their cars.

The suits filed almost simultaneously in US and Canadian courts come as European authorities investigate the German carmakers cartel which allegedly struck unlawful bargains to share technology and strategy. According to one news report, US authorities also are reviewing the allegations. 

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in New Jersey, three car owners accused the companies of two decades of conspiracy that hurt customers, court papers show. The residents of Florida, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, said the companies illegally shared information on costs, suppliers, markets, emissions equipment and other competitive matters.

That collusion harmed buyers because “they paid more for German luxury vehicles than they otherwise would have,” said the plaintiffs, who claimed to represent an entire class of American buyers.

The US lawsuit seeks “treble damages” at trial, although the amount was not specified.  The suit filed in Montreal made similar allegations and seeks US$878 million (CAN US $1.1 billion) in damages.

Did You Purchase or Lease A German Luxury BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley or Mercedes-Benz?

If so, your rights under federal law may have been violated.  If you would like to speak privately with an attorney to contribute to or learn more about the investigation, please complete the form to the right or contact John Kehoe, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 801, [email protected]; or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.

The Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is a multidisciplinary, plaintiff–side law firm dedicated to protecting investors and consumers from corporate fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoing. Driven by a strong and principled sense of social responsibility and obtaining justice for the aggrieved, Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. represents plaintiffs seeking to recover investment losses resulting from securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate wrongdoing or malfeasance, those harmed by anticompetitive practices, and consumers victimized by fraud, negligence, false claims, deception, data breaches or whose rights to minimum wage and overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws have been violated.