Is the cartel fine excessive?
No, the €2.93 billion settlement fine on truck makers is a record in absolute terms, but it is still possible that the industry has profited from the cartel given the enormous profits they have made because of the cartel. Given typical annual truck sales of 350,000 in the EU, over the 1997-2011 years truck makers sold approximately five million trucks. Excluding trucks sold by Scania and MAN and trucks under 6 tonnes, the companies fined today sold an estimated 3.5 million vehicles over the period. The €2.93 billion fine hence represents around €850 per vehicle.
The compliance costs for Euro III-VI (from a Euro II baseline) averaged around €3,500 per truck over the period. It follows that if the industry colluders only agreed to a relatively modest degree of overpricing for compliance costs, the cartel has been profitable in retrospect – even taking the fine into account. For comparison, Euro VI trucks were initially sold  with an industry-wide €10,000 premium, not €2,000, which was the additional estimated cost of EURO VI technology.
What should be done with the cartel fine?
An interesting question is what should happen to the cartel fine. Should it just flow into the EU’s coffers (or worse, into the coffers of EU governments where the truck makers have their HQs?). We don’t think so.
The EU should use the money to the benefit of the damaged parties which are in this case the environment and the hauliers. So we propose the fine should be directed towards research and development of cleaner, more energy-efficient vehicles (the US supertruck programme could be an inspiration), or the accelerated electrification of transport.