Scania – €880m fine for cartel participation

Truck manufacturer Scania has been fined €880 million by the European Commission for taking part in a cartel.

The huge fine comes after a 14 year investigation where six truck builders have been fined a total of €3.8bn for colluding on prices.

The other companies, Daimler, DAF, Iveco, and Volvo/Renault, accepted liability and reached a settlement with the Commission a year ago. Scania however decided to not settle so the case continued until now.

Scania’s sister company in the Volkswagen Group was given immunity because it had blown the whistle on the cartel to the EC.

The UK’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) has launched a damages claim against the six companies involved, attracting the support of 2000 hauliers who operate 120,000 trucks.

If the action succeeds, the RHA estimate that the operators could win an average of £6,000 per truck purchased or leased. This civil claim would be worth in a region of £720 million.

In a statement on the fine, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “The truck producers met regularly to manage the cartel. For the first few years of the cartel, this involved senior managers from the companies’ head offices meeting frequently. From 2004 onwards the cartel was organised at a lower level by the truck producers’ subsidiaries in Germany. Scania was an active member of the cartel and was responsible for organising some of the meetings.

“The discussions between the companies in the cartel focused on two main topics:

“First, the truck producers discussed the “gross price list” increases they were planning for medium and heavy trucks and coordinated these with each other. 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.

“Second, the truck producers also discussed their response to increasingly strict European emissions standards. These have been progressively tightened over the years, reducing the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions from trucks.

“The truck producers coordinated both on the pricing for the new technologies that were needed to meet the stricter standards and on when to actually introduce new technologies,” said Vestager.

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