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€2.9 billion fine for truck manufacturers

BRUSSELS: July 20, 2016. The European Commission (EC) has fined truck manufacturers Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF over €2.9 billion for 14 years of price fixing while they passed on the costs of emissions' compliance to customers.

The EC said MAN escaped a fine because it was the whistleblower - and added that an ongoing investigation into truck manufacturer Scania is not covered by the current settlement.

According to the Commission, between 1997 and 2004 senior managers from the other five manufacturers met at trade fairs to fix the factory price of trucks weighing from six to over 16 tonnes, the timing for introducing new emissions technologies, and the passing on to customers of any related costs.

Daimler truckThe EC said that after 2004, the cartel was organised via the truck producers' German subsidiaries, with participants exchanging information electronically.

"We have today put down a marker by imposing record fines for a serious infringement. In all, there are over 30 million trucks on European roads, which account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role for the European economy," said EC commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager. "It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other," she added.

Daimler received the highest fine of just over €1.0 billion followed by DAF (€752.6 million), Volvo/Renault (€670.4 million) and Iveco (€494.6 million).

Jos Dings, executive director at NGO watchdog Transport & Environment (T&E) commented: "This is a big fine, but not at all extreme if you look at the enormous scale of this cartel – all trucks sold in Europe over 14 years. After this verdict truck makers need to change, but so too do regulators by creating competition on environmental performance. Introducing fuel economy standards is one key way of doing that."

T&E said the EC's verdict showed the collusion by the truck manufacturers was not just immoral but illegal: "Unfortunately none of the €2.93 billion settlement fine has actually been dedicated towards remediation of environmental damage," added Dings. "The fine could have well been directed towards research and development of cleaner, more energy efficient vehicles, or the accelerated electrification of transport."

Established in 1990, T&E represents around 50 organizations across Europe working for sustainable transport policies. It has observer status at ICAO via the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, and is a member of the Clean Shipping Coalition that has similar status at the International Maritime Organisation.

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