After Google and Apple, Commissioner Vestager and the European Commission has found that Scania broke EU antitrust rules. It colluded for 14 years with five other truck manufacturers on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a fine of €880 523 000 on Scania.
In July 2016, the Commission reached a settlement decision concerning the trucks cartel with MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault. Scania decided not to settle this cartel case with the Commission, unlike the other five participants in the trucks cartel. As a result, the Commission’s investigation against Scania was carried out under the standard cartel procedure.
Presenting the case in Brussels, Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said: “Today’s decision marks the end of our investigation into a very long lasting cartel – 14 years. 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. These trucks account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role in the European economy. Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other – also on environmental improvements.”
Road haulage is an essential part of the European transport sector and its competitiveness depends on truck prices. Today’s decision relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tons) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tons).
The Commission’s investigation revealed that Scania, as a producer of heavy trucks, had engaged in a cartel relating to: coordinating prices at “gross list” level for medium and heavy trucks in the European Economic Area (EEA). The “gross list” price level relates to the factory price of trucks, as set by each manufacturer. Generally, these gross list prices are the basis for pricing in the trucks industry. The final price paid by buyers is then based on further adjustments, done at national and local level, to these gross list prices, the timing for the introduction of emission technologies for medium and heavy trucks to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro III through to the currently applicable Euro VI) and the passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies required to comply with the increasingly strict European emissions standards (from Euro III through to the currently applicable Euro VI).
The infringement covered the entire EEA and lasted 14 years, from 1997 until 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms. 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. From 2004 onwards, the cartel was organised via the truck producers’ German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically.
Over the 14 years the discussions between the companies covered the same topics, namely the respective “gross list” price increases, timing for the introduction of new emissions technologies and the passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies./IBNA