A record fine of €2.9bn has been imposed on a cartel of European truck manufacturers for colluding on prices over a period of 14 years.
The European Commission found MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF had been in breach of EU antitrust rules.
The fine was for the cartel’s operation in the manufacturing market for medium and heavy trucks, which weigh between six and 16 tonnes and over 16 tonnes respectively.
In the initial years of the cartel, between 1997 and 2004, senior manager met “at the margins of trade fairs or other events” to discuss price increases, timings for introducing emission reducing technologies needed to meet new regulations, and the passing on of costs for emission technologies to buyers, the Commission said.
After 2004, until it was broken by an unannounced inspection in 2011, the cartel organised itself through its companies’ German subsidiaries and communicated mostly electronically.
Margrethe Vestager, EU commissioner for competition, said the Commission had “put down a marker by imposing record fines”.
“There are over 30m trucks on European roads, which account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe... It is not acceptable that [these companies], 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,” she added.
The Commission said the firms had been coordinating prices at a "gross list level", the basic factory price of the trucks.
MAN was given full immunity because it blew the whistle on the cartel, and avoided what the Commission said would have been a €1.2bn fine.
The fine breakdown is:
- Daimler €1bn
- DAF €750m
- Volvo/Renault €670m
- Iveco €495m
- MAN €0
All the companies acknowledged their involvement in the cartel, the Commission said.
In a statement Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of Volvo said: “While we regret what has happened, we are convinced that these events have not impacted our customers.”
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