Why Spain slapped 20 automakers with fines

MADRID - Spain's competition authorities have fined 20 car manufacturers and distributors 171 million euros ($188 million) for practices it said constituted a cartel.

A statement from the National Markets and Competition Commission said that the sanctioned companies "exchanged commercially sensitive and strategic information in the Spanish vehicle distribution and after-sales market for the brands involved."

The companies fined included Spanish subsidiaries and distributors of BMW, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Citroen, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volvo.

The commission said Tuesday that Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Porsche were not fined because it was their collaboration that provided enough evidence to merit the inspections.

The companies have two months to appeal the fines before the National Court.