How to complain about the Car Cartel
Processing claims regarding Cartels
About the Car Cartel
On July 23, 2015, the CNMC (National Commission for Markets and Competition) issued a resolution sanctioning twenty-one distributors and dealers of motor vehicles, after-sales service providers and two consulting companies to pay the amount of 171 million euros “for practices contrary to the Law on the Defense of Competition (file S/0482/13) and violation of article 101 of the Founding Treaty of the European Union, these practices constituting a cartel” (Press release of the July 23, 2015 by the CNMC).
According to the CNMC, from February 2006 to August 2013 a group of companies in the automotive sector agreed to introduce a surcharge on car sales prices . It is what is now known as the “car cartel”.
The offending companies appealed the penalty before the Supreme Court, which has recently begun to resolve such appeals, dismissing them and confirming the penalty imposed by the CNMC. For example, Supreme Court Judgment No. 1878/2021, dated April 6, 2021, which dismisses the appeal of RENAULT ESPAÑA COMERCIAL S.A., or Judgment No. 3476/2021, dated September 17, 2021, where the appeal of HONDA MOTOR EUROPE LIMITES, SUCURSAL EN ESPAÑA is dismissed.
Applicable regulations. Prescription period and start date for the computation
The regulation applied by the CNMC to penalize vehicle manufacturers is the Law for the Defense of Competition (both Law 16/1989, of July 17 and Law 15 /2007, of July 3, which repealed and replaced the previous one), as well as art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
One of the issues that will surely cause people to talk will be the possible prescription of claim actions against car manufacturers. The Commercial Court no. The one-year limitation period will begin to run (dies a quo) from the moment the affected party could have reasonably known of the existence of this cartel and its affectation, that is, from the respective Judgments of the National Court confirming the sanction imposed by the CNMC, or, where appropriate, since the dismissal of the corresponding appeals of cassation that the different manufacturers have filed before the Supreme Court.
For the moment, and according to the information we have and without prejudice to the joint and several liability of the manufacturers, the dies a quo for the start of the limitation period for each of the manufacturers would be as follows:
|Empresa||Resolución||Contenido||Prescripción 1 año|
|AUTOMÓVILES CITROËN ESPAÑA, S.A.||Sentencia Tribunal Supremo 20/4/2021||Desestimación Recurso de Casación||20/04/2022|
|B&M AUTOMÓVILES ESPAÑA, S.A.||Auto 2/06/2021||Inadmisión Recurso Casación||02/06/2022|
|BMW IBÉRICA, S.A.U.||Sentencia Tribunal Supremo 31/05/2021||Desestimación Recurso de Casación||31/05/2022|
|CHEVROLET ESPAÑA, S.A.U.||Sentencia Audiencia Nacional 19/12/2019||Desestimación recurso contencioso-administra.||19/12/2020*|
|CHRYSLER ESPAÑA, S.L.||Sentencia Tribunal Supremo 13/05/2021||Desestimación Recur|