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Commission fines Scania €881 million for participation in cartel

The European Commission has fined Scania €881 million after concluding that it broke EU antitrust rules.28 Sep 2017

Scania colluded with five other truck manufacturers for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet stricter emission rules, the Commission said.

In July 2016, the Commission issued record fines to the other participants in the cartel. MAN, Volvo / Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF broke EU antitrust rules, according to the Commission.

All of the companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case, but MAN received full immunity from the Commission for revealing the existence of the cartel, and so avoided a fine of around €1.2 billion. The other companies received various fine reductions reflecting the extent of their cooperation with the Commission's investigations, as well as an additional 10% reduction to reflect the fact that they settled the case.

Scania declined to participate in the settlement talks, so the investigation against the company was carried out under the standard cartel procedure, the Commission said.

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 nine 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."

The companies that were involved in the cartel all manufacture medium trucks, weighing between six and 16 tonnes, and heavy trucks, which weigh over 16 tonnes, according to the Commission. Their anticompetitive behaviour covered the whole of the European Economic Area (EEA) and ran between 1997 and 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the companies involved, it said.

The cartel initially stemmed from meetings between unnamed "senior managers" of the companies, who then met frequently, "sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events", according to the Commission. From 2004 onwards, it was operated at a "lower level" within the companies' German subsidiaries, and managed over email, the Commission said.

There were no links between these acts and the use of 'defeat devices' by some companies to circumvent vehicles' anti-pollution systems, which has been the subject of separate action by international authorities, according to the Commission.