Truck makers fined £2.44 billion for price fixing

Five major truck manufacturers have been collectively fined £2.44 billion (€2.93bn) for fixing pricing over the last 14 years.

The price-fixing relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tonnes) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tonnes).

The European Commission's investigation revealed that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Iveco and DAF had engaged in a cartel relating to:

  • Coordinating prices at "gross list" level for medium and heavy trucks in the European Economic Area (EEA). The "gross list" price level relates to the factory price of trucks, as set by each manufacturer. Generally, these gross list prices are the basis for pricing in the trucks industry. The final price paid by buyers is then based on further adjustments, done at national and local level, to these gross list prices.
  • The timing for the introduction of emission technologies for medium and heavy trucks to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro 3 through to the currently applicable Euro 6).
  • The passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies required to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro 3 through to the currently applicable Euro 6).

The infringement was EU-wide and lasted 14 years, from 1997 until 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms.

The collusion identified by the Commission concerned the new emission technologies required by the Euro III to Euro VI environmental standards, specifically coordination on timing and coordination on passing on of costs of emission technologies for trucks compliant with newly introduced emissions standards. The collusion was not aimed at avoiding or manipulating compliance with the new emission standards.

Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) was fined £902m (€1.08bn), DAF was fined £628m (€752m), Iveco £412m (€494m), and Volvo/Renault £560m (€670m).

MAN (part of Volkswagen Group) will not be fined, as it reported the cartel to the European Commission. Scania, also part of Volkswagen Group, did not settle and will continue to be under investigation.

Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager said: “We have today put down a marker by imposing record fines for a serious infringement. In all, there are over 30 million trucks on European roads, which account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role for the European economy.

"It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other.

"For 14 years they colluded on the pricing and on passing on the costs for meeting environmental standards to customers. This is also a clear message to companies that cartels are not accepted."

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett added: “The truck manufacturers are our members’ key suppliers and enjoy a partnership which is very often based on trust. 

“Over the past 20 years the supply of lorries has become more complex with a range of finance deals and maintenance contracts built in by the manufacturers as part of the supply agreement to their customers.

“Hauliers will be angered to learn that at the same time there was a price-fixing cartel linked to the Euro-emission standards. It is reassuring to have confirmation that there was no cheating in terms of the Euro-emission testing process but that is of little comfort in terms of the price fixing.

“The victim of this price fixing has been the whole haulage industry and it is already clear today, and in recent weeks that many of our members will want compensation.

“The RHA is therefore actively considering representing the industry in pursuit of this and is making final detailed checks about taking this issue to the courts.”

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  • DavidMG - 20/07/2016 13:45

    How much of the fines will be repaid to customers who have overpaid for the vehicles that they have bought? Probably nil, the fines may well just go to paying increased salaries for eurocrat Bureauocrats.

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  • Derek webb - 02/08/2016 16:04

    Strange that we don't "fine" oil producers for price fixing cartels. Oh - and who gets the fine money?

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