The European Commission has found truck makers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Iveco and DAF guilty of colluding on prices and the release of new emission cutting technology.
The Commission found the brands broke Europe’s antitrust rules over a 14-year period and issued $4.3 billion AUD fines across the brands, with the exception of whistleblowing marque MAN.
Daimler was slugged with the heftiest fine of $1.5 biliion AUD, followed by DAF with a $1.1 billion fine, Volvo/Renault’s $984 million and Iveco’s $725 million.
Each marque was given 10 per cent leeway for admitting to their involvement in the process.
Scania is the only brand not to have been fined and investigations are still underway.
Commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager said the fines reflect the serious nature of the brands’ actions.
“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,” Vestager said.
“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 commission found that the truck makers coordinated factory prices from 1997 till 2011, as well as the timing of advancements in emissions technology during the Euro 3 to Euro 6 eras.
Findings from the Commission stated the details were organised at trade shows and through online communication.
“Between 1997 and 2004, meetings were held at senior manager level, sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events. This was complemented by phone conversations,” the Commission said.
“From 2004 onwards, the cartel was organised via the truck producers’ German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically.”
The commission says no effort was made to avoid or manipulate compliance with the new emission standards nor did it find any links between this cartel and any efforts to circumvent the anti-pollution system fitted to certain vehicles.