The European Commission are in the process of fining 5 major UK truck manufacturers £2.5bn after an investigation revealed a cartel that fixed prices between 1997 and 2011 as well as colluding over timing when introducing emission technologies for HGVs, charging higher standards to their customers.
Offices of the manufacturers were raided and searched in 2011 when the Commission received an informative call from MAN, following this all operations from the cartel ceased.
MAN avoided being fined as they contacted the European Commission telling them of the system their competitors had in place.
EC Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated: “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 nine 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.”
Now this information has been shared with the general public the manufacturers could face further charges for compensation from other firms and businesses who rely on their vehicles. With an estimated 600,000 hauliers in Europe the manufactures now face a record-breaking fine given by the European Commission.
Jos Dings, executive director at NGO watchdog Transport & Environment told reports: "This is a big fine, but not at all extreme if you look at the enormous scale of this cartel – all trucks sold in Europe over 14 years. After this verdict truck makers need to change, but so too do regulators by creating competition on environmental performance. Introducing fuel economy standards is one key way of doing that."
Since reports some of the manufacturers have released public statements in regards to the actions that took place over the course of the 14 years the cartel was in action. This includes Volvo and Renault president who stated the events had no impact on their customers. Meanwhile MAN’s website posted: “The MAN code of conduct includes a clear belief in free and fair competition. The company does not tolerate any unfair business practices or illegal conduct.”
Scania is being investigated further before any fines are given as investigators have not found any evidence they were aware of the cartel’s activities.