View Full Version : Prime Time expose auto industry price fixing cartel
06/12/2005, 3:32 PM
Why is no one talking about this?
This is a major story!
Taken from The Irish Examiner online. (http://www.examiner.ie/pport/web/ireland/Full_Story/did-sgl9eRhaxsPQYsg0aewFBADppk.asp)
Prominent brand names and some of their senior dealers will be named tonight by RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates which exposes unlawful anti-competitive practices in the car sales industry.
Their activities have kept new car prices in Ireland artificially high, a spokesperson for the programme said last night.
Some of those named are now the subject of a CA probe.
The programme will show how car industry cartels have kept prices at agreed levels.
In some cases, dealers who tried to sell cars at lower than the arranged prices were subject to financial punishments agreed by dealer associations.
Ted Henneberry, the director of the CA’s cartels division said: “There is no more serious offence under the act than price fixing, we call it a hardcore criminal offence.”
Consumer Association chairman Michael Kilcoyne said he was shocked by the programme’s findings.
“What really surprises me is the hard evidence in black and white and names attached to the statements which shows what these guys did to keep the prices high.”
Tonight’s programme also exposes dodgy second-hand car dealers and unusual activity at National Car Test (NCT) centres.
I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg!
06/12/2005, 3:38 PM
It happens everywhere,.
I know a manager in Game and he says the prices of certain consoles and games are agreed with Smyths and then they both offer these
'Find a cheaper price and we'll refund the difference' scams.
i went to dublin to buy a car and the dealer himself told me i will not get it lower than 14'000 euro anywhere in dublin because they all have agreed price on them!!*******!!
06/12/2005, 4:03 PM
I work in the motor industry, so I'll have to be careful what I say and I'd appriciate some disscretion in responce to this post, there is a suggested retail price given by the manufacturer to dealers, these prices are above the average cost of a new car, and personally I think there would be more outroar if there was up to €5000 in the difference rather then €500, would you not???
Have not the EU invested this already & given some large fines to the likes of VW? I thought this is why the EU were pusing through car supermarkets i.e. can't have 1 brand only exclusive dealers.
06/12/2005, 4:23 PM
Watched this last night, came in just when they were switching from second-hand ripoffs to new ripoffs. At the outset I was very unimpressed, thought the hand-held shots and ominous music were very OTT, particularly when all they were doing was alluding to lawbreaking. It came off as a poor man's version of UK investigative shows, and all the while I was thinking it was going to be another typical RTE "exposé", where they're afraid to actually expose anyone for fear of getting sued.
But they came on in leaps and bounds, and I started smiling away to myself when they interviewed the clueless Kerry fella. When they started naming brands, and then actually naming names and interviewing people in the street, I have to say I was very impressed. If they did that on purpose (i.e. lead us on), whoever is responsible deserves a slap on the back. Very good investigative journalism, and I hope just the tip of the iceberg that's to come; as they get more experienced.
Well done RTE in general and Primetime in particular. Keep at it, we need to kill the Oirish Way of doing things off, and get these people in jail.
06/12/2005, 5:24 PM
Well it was terribly done and the journalist was, imo, trying too hard to do a "hard-hitting, exposé" if you will, and failed terribly, and half the time just looked like a naughty schoolgirl!!!
In general though I was expecting much, much worse when I first heard this was coming a couple of weeks ago.
In actual fact the whole thing is not based on facts, any bit of evedence used, bar the clocked Merc, is something thats currently being investegated, as yet unproven and although it seems as though this was common practice it is not nearly as rampant anymore! This is more of a stumbling block for the industry rather then a full on hurdle, in my opinion!
One more point what was up with the recreation of the meetings as though it was the maffia at work??? Darkened rooms, dodgey dealings, I was half expecting Tony Soprano to walk in ffs!!!
Electronic odometers make it to easy to clock even new cars. How can anyone tell if their new motor wasn't a test modle for the showroom as new cars are adjusted to xero i think after shipping...
06/12/2005, 7:01 PM
Not sure of your question, but if you buy a new car and want to be the first owner, it is registered after purchased, if it is registered before you buy, you are officially the second owner, you should be advised of this, but can be seen in the log book!
06/12/2005, 8:01 PM
This country is a pathetic joke. We are being ripped off left right and centre. Go to any other EU country and have a heart attack at the cheap prices.
06/12/2005, 9:20 PM
The main problem with the motor industry is nothing more then VRT, thats what keeps costs of motors so high, nothing else!
I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg!
I'm certain it is, however this is what you get when you give business too much power in the country and too much free reign to do whatever they like.
RTE should follow this up with the effect of VRT and how that inflates the price of new and second hand cars, and stops us shopping in the EU. RTE are scared to take on the Government over this illegal tax though.
It was a good decision to give the Competition Authority a few years ago but i remember it being commented on that the government failed to to give it one power that US version had - Manages/Directors of companies found guilt of price fixing, cartels etc... could see jail time. IMo if they brought that in companies would operate differently if knew could get more than just a fine.
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