The (price-fixing) Truck Cartel lasted for 14 years from 17 January 1997 until 18 January 2011 and was only revealed to the public years later in 2014. These are the most important stages and events of its history:

  • The 6 leading truck manufacturers formed a cartel in the period between 17 January 1997 and 18 January 2011 (on coordinating prices at "gross list" level, the timing for the introduction of emission technologies and on the passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies).
  • The first meeting between senior managers of the trucks producers was held in Brussels in a hotel on 17 January 1997. The Truck Cartel was organized there and this meeting was the starting point of this long lasting cartel period.
  • Between 1997 and 2004, meetings were held frequently at senior manager level, sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events. This was complemented by phone conversations and lasted for the first seven years of the cartel.
  • From 2004 onwards, the Cartel was organized via the truck producers German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically. During this second period, the contacts between the competitors became more formalized and the participants exchanged information mostly by email (but there were also face-to-face meetings, for example in Munich on 4-5 July 2005). 
  • On 20 September 2010 the infringement is considered to have ended for MAN when it reported about the existence of the Cartel to the EU Commission and applied for and received immunity.
  • In January 2011 the Commission confirmed unannounced inspections in the trucks sector.
  • Because of the aforementioned infringements, inspections were carried out at the manufacturers' premises on 18-21 January 2011.
  • The illegal price-fixing agreement is considered to have ended on 18 January 2011, which is the date on which inspections began, but the effects lasted for many years after that.
  • By the formal decision of the European Commission on 20 November 2014, preliminary proceedings were opened against the manufacturers.
  • MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler (Mercedes) and Iveco also cooperated with the EU Commission under the leniency program and provided evidence which helped them to prove the existence of the Cartel, and as a result also had their fines reduced (by a further 10%).
  • On 19 July 2016 the Commission adopted a decision imposing fines of over 2.9 billion Euros on leading truck producers (Daimler, MAN, DAF, Iveco and Volvo/Renault). They participated in a cartel involving medium and heavy trucks. For this they've received a record fine.
  • Scania was unwilling to accept the settlement decision and decided to fight against it. So in 2016 investigations against Scania were continued.
  • On 27 September 2017 Scania was also found to have broken the EU antitrust rules. Their fine amounted to 880 million Euros.
  • Based on evidence covering more than a decade, EU investigators fined the Truck Cartel members a total of 3.8 billion Euros.

 

* European Commission's Press Release (19 July 2016):
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_16_2585

Written by Lilla Mátrai

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