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Probe launched into Swiss car leasing ‘fiddle’

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Probe launched into Swiss car leasing ‘fiddle’
Photo: AFP
11:37 CEST+02:00
Switzerland’s competition commission Comco has launched a major investigation into alleged fiddling of car leasing rates by nine financing companies of automakers and importers.

The investigation, announced on Tuesday, follows indications that the financing firms of major car manufacturers, reached agreements on vehicle leasing rates following regular exchanges of information, Comco said.

The companies are alleged to have exchanged information about interest rates, contractual conditions, the level of commissions given to dealers, as well as various costs, the commission said.

The financing companies are linked to such automakers as BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Peugeot.

“Searches have been made of the companies targetted by this investigation,” the commission said in a news release.

Rafael Corazza, head of Comco, said the investigation is expected to take 18 months before it can reach any conclusions, the ATS news agency reported.

The probe involves financing companies linked to most of the car brands imported into Switzerland, except Honda, Volvo and Hyundai.

The leasing of motor vehicles (cars, vans and trucks) is a business with revenues of 7.4 billion francs a year in Switzerland, ATS said.

Around 200,000 motor vehicle leasing contracts are signed annually, the news agency said.

Comco said its investigation is looking into the activities of Amag Leasing AG, BMW Finanzdienstleistungen (Schweiz) AG, Fidis Finance (Suisse) SA, Ford Credit (Switzerland) GmbH, GMAC Suisse SA, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Schweiz AG, Multilease AG, PSA Finance Suisse SA and RCI Finance SA.

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