Premium truck maker Scania has been fined €880 million (£770 million) by the European Commission for breaking EU antitrust rules.
The Commission says Scania and five other truck manufacturers colluded for 14 years, dating back to 1997, on areas including truck pricing, passing on the cost of new technology to meet tougher emissions regulations onto customers, and on the timing for the introduction of emissions tech itself.
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MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault were also part of the cartel, and they all chose to settle with the Commission; Scania chose not to. The firm maintains its innocence and insists it will appeal the ruling.
Total fines of €3.8 billion have been imposed on the truck manufacturers after MAN admitted the existence of the cartel following raids in 2011. Because it was the whistleblower, the Volkswagen-owned truck firm escaped a €1.2 billion fine. The biggest fine, of €1 billion, was imposed on Daimler, which also owns Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The other truck makers received discounts on their fines because they collaborated with investigators: as it maintains its innocence, Scania received no discount.
Bosses of the truck makers used to meet on the fringes at trade fairs and other events, says the Commission, backed up by secret telephone calls. “From 2004 onwards, the cartel was organised by the truck producers’ German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically.”
“Today’s decision marks the end of our investigation into a very long lasting cartel – 14 years” said commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager. “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.
“Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other – also on environmental improvements.”
The European Commission did add, however, that the cartel was “not aimed at avoiding or manipulating compliance with the new emissions standards.” Its focus was instead on the timing of Euro 3 and Euro 4 emissions standards, rather than trying to circumvent them.
“The Commissions’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’).”