Brussels has fined four maritime car carriers (€395m), of suppliers of spark plugs (€76m ) and two suppliers of braking systems (€75m), for taking part in cartels, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

All companies acknowledged their involvement in the cartels and agreed to settle the cases.

“The Commission has sanctioned several companies for colluding in the maritime transport of cars and the supply of car parts,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy. “The three separate decisions taken today show that we will not tolerate anticompetitive behaviour affecting European consumers and industries.”

By raising component prices or transport costs for cars, the cartels ultimately hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector, which employs around 12m people in the EU, according to Vestager.