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EU imposes €880m fine on Scania for truck price fixing


The European Commission has announced they were fining Scania 880 million Euros for their part in the illegal cartel.

In July 2016, the Commission reached a settlement decision concerning the trucks cartel with MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault. However, Scania decided not to settle this cartel case with the Commission, unlike the other five participants in the trucks cartel. As a result, the Commission’s investigation against Scania was carried out under the standard cartel procedure.

The Road Haulage Association in the UK has welcomed the heavy fine the European Commission has imposed on Scania for being part of a price fixing cartel over 14 years – but pointed out it does nothing to pay UK hauliers back for the money they’ve spent on overpriced lorries.

Commenting, RHA (UK) Chief Executive Richard Burnett said:  “Today’s massive fine on Scania confirms how serious the EU truck cartel was – it takes the overall fine imposed for the cartel to almost €4 billion.  However, the fine does nothing to compensate truck operators for the increased costs they have suffered because of the cartel.  The RHA is leading the way in the UK to obtain compensation for the haulage industry and has almost 2,000 operators signed up to its group claim.

“I hope the fine on Scania today will persuade those truck operators who have not yet signed up to the RHA’s claim (perhaps because they purchased or leased Scania trucks) now to do so. “
Operators interested in finding out more about the RHA’s claim can do so at:  www.truckcartellegalaction.com

Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager said: “Today’s decision marks the end of our investigation into a very long lasting cartel – 14 years. This cartel affected very substantial numbers of road hauliers in Europe, since Scania and the other truck manufacturers in the cartel produce more than 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe. These trucks account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role in the European economy. Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other – also on environmental improvements.”

Road haulage is an essential part of the European transport sector and its competitiveness depends on truck prices. Today’s decision relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tonnes) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tonnes).
The Commission’s investigation revealed that Scania, as a producer of heavy trucks, had engaged in a cartel relating to:

  • Co-ordinating 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 III through to the currently applicable Euro VI)
  • The passing on to customers of 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).

The infringement covered the entire EEA and lasted 14 years, from 1997 until 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms. Between 1997 and 2004, meetings were held at senior manager level, sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events. This was complemented by phone conversations. From 2004 onwards, the cartel was organised via the truck producers’ German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically.
Over the 14 years the discussions between the companies covered the same topics, namely the respective “gross list” price increases, timing for the introduction of new emissions technologies and the passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies.