EU TRUCK CARTEL: 14 YEARS OF PRICE FIXING

Price fixing: 1997-2011

Over 14 years, truck manufacturers colluded to coordinate prices and timing of the new emission-reducing technology of medium and heavy trucks, securing their companies’ profits for the years to come. MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Scania, Iveco and DAF all participated to jointly fix prices and delay the introduction of emission technologies.

This cartel affected substantial numbers of road hauliers in Europe as, together, these manufacturers produce more than 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy duty trucks sold in Europe!

The European Commission has fined the truck cartel a record €3.8 billion.

What exactly did the manufacturers do?

  • coordinated 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. (The final price paid by buyers is then based on further adjustments, done at national and local level, to these gross list prices.)
  • coordinated timing for the introduction of emission technologies for medium and heavy trucks to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from EURO III through to the currently applicable EURO VI)
  • passed on to customers the costs for the emissions technologies required to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro III through to the currently applicable Euro VI).

Who was fined and by how much?

  • Volvo/Renault – €676m
  • Daimler – €1bn
  • Iveco – €465m
  • DAF – €753m
  • Scania – €880m
  • MAN (owned by VW) – €0 (they avoided their entire €1.2bn penalty as the whistle-blower of the case)

What should be done with the cartel fine?

Should it 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 – the environment and the hauliers. This means the fine should be directed towards research and development of cleaner, more energy-efficient vehicles (the US supertruck programme could be an inspiration), and the accelerated electrification of transport.

How did the EU find out?

In 2011 the Commission raided the truckmakers’ offices after it had received a tip from a whistle-blower – MAN. Finalising the investigation into the “huge and complex” trucks cartel took another 5 years but when the verdict was reached it was singularly damning:

“The European Commission has found that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke EU antitrust rules. These truck makers colluded for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a record fine of € 2 926 499 000.”

Source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2582_en.htm

A year later, after denying any wrongdoing, Scania was also fined, bringing the total cartel fine to a record €3.8 billion.

Contact our experts:

James Nix

Director, Freight and Climate
+32 (0)487 790 281

Stef Cornelis

Cleaner Trucks Officer
+32 (0)2 851 02 19

Pierre Dornier

Communications Officer
+32 491 865 263

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