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European commission fines truck manufacturers for breaking antitrust rules

Sep 22, 2016
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 (€2.9 billion).  

MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.  

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."  

The decision relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tons) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tons). The Commission's investigation revealed that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF had engaged in a cartel relating to:  

  • the factory price of trucks 

  • 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.  

The Commission’s investigation did not reveal any links between this cartel and allegations or practices on circumventing the anti-pollution system of certain vehicles (commonly referred to as "defeat devices").  

In setting the level of fines, the Commission took into account the respective companies' sales of medium trucks and heavy trucks in the EEA, as well as the serious nature of the infringement, the high combined market share of the companies, the geographic scope and the duration of the cartel.  

Under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice, MAN received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, thereby avoiding a fine of around €1.2 billion. For their cooperation with the investigation, Volvo/Renault, Daimler and Iveco benefited from reductions of their fines under the 2006 Leniency Notice. The reductions reflect the timing of their cooperation and the extent to which the evidence they provided helped the Commission to prove the existence of the cartel [see The Mover, May 2016, page 28, ‘The dangers of anti-competitive conduct’].  

The total fines imposed are as follows: 


 

Editor’s note:  Presumably the prices industry pays for these trucks will now increase to cover the cost of paying the fines! 

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