BRUSSELS -- The European Commission staged surprise inspections Tuesday at car exhaust system plants in several member states suspected of anti-competitive practices.
The commission, which is in charge of policing competition in the 28-member bloc, said it "has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position."
Commission officials involved in the raids were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities, a statement added.
Exhaust systems for vehicles include so-called "hot end" parts such as exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, and anti-pollution filters, as well as "cold end" goods such as mufflers and tubes.
The raid "does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself," the EU body emphasized.
In line with usual practice, the commission did not release the names of the companies concerned, but French group Faurecia (IW 1000/) said it had been visited by the inspections.
"Faurecia is cooperating fully with the European Commission authorities," the company said in a statement, adding that it "clearly forbids any type of behavior relating to anti-trust or that is not compliant with competition laws."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014