Home > Engagements


Alleged horizontal agreement in the market for financial services to the automotive sector

Lear assisted RCI Banque and Opel Finance, with two separate teams, in proceedings started by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) seeking to prove the existence of an anticompetitive agreement between car manufacturers’ captive banks and regarding the purchase of motor vehicles through financing supplied by captive banks. The ICA’s investigation was triggered by the discovery of an information exchange between captive banks, and regarding financing terms. However, as Lear economists pointed out during proceedings, captive banks do not compete with one another, as each only finances the purchase of motor vehicles sold by its parent company (the car manufacturer); and the information exchanged by captive banks could enable coordination in a complex market such as that for the sale of motor vehicles. It was precisely on these grounds that that the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio upheld the appeal lodged by car manufacturers and their captive banks, setting aside the decision of the ICA.