EU regulator fines car safety equipment firms over cartels

BRUSSELS — The European Union's anti-trust regulator says it's fining auto safety equipment suppliers Autoliv and TRW more than 368 million euros ($417 million) for stifling competition by running cartels.

The European Commission said Tuesday that the two companies — along with a third, Takata — took part in cartels supplying car seatbelts, air bags and steering wheels to the Volkswagen and BMW groups.

It says Takata avoided fines for blowing the whistle. All three acknowledged involvement and agreed to settle.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says these cartels "hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector, which employs around 13 million people."

The commission, which polices competition in the EU, says any person or company affected by the two cartels' actions can seek damages in court.

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