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European truckmakers operated cartel for 14 years

2 January 2015

European heavy truck makers allegedly operated a cartel for 14 years to delay the progress of emission reduction technologies, according to a report published on 23 December 2014 by the Financial Times, based on leaked documents from a European Commission investigation. Details on the cartel investigation surfaced after truckmakers won a delay on the new weight and dimension rules for heavy trucks.

EU officials reportedly carried out raids on several truckmakers in 2011, initiating an anti-trust investigation that led to a charge sheet being sent last month to the main manufacturers. A “statement of objections” document states the collusion has taken place between January 1997 and January 2011 and involved DAF, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo (who also owns Renault) and MAN—who was the whistleblower in the case. The six truckmakers have a market share of close to 100%.

The document says the truckmakers “agreed the timing and price increase levels for the introduction of new emission technologies” to comply with the Euro III emission standards in 2000. “All competitors participated directly and throughout the full duration in all the constituent elements of the cartel.”

If the European Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of EU anti-trust rules, the truckmakers can be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue. Manufacturers have set aside cash to deal with the potential fines. Daimler, for example, set aside an additional 600 million euros ($740 million) to cover potential costs related to the antitrust investigation.

Source: Financial Times