Four truck manufacturers have been fined a record 2.93 (£2.46, US$3.23) billion by the European Union (EU) for colluding on prices and passing on the costs of emissions-reducing technology. The European Commission said Daimler, DAF, Iveco, MAN and Volvo/Renault colluded over 14 years, between 1997 and 2011, to fix prices. VW-owned MAN avoided a fine of around 1.2 billion as it blew the whistle on the cartel.
It is the highest penalty the EU has ever imposed on a cartel, and double the previous record. In 2012, Brussels imposed a 1.47 billion fine against six firms including Philips, LG Electronics and Panasonic for running two cartels for nearly a decade. This has been by far the biggest cartel fine, but the fine for the truck makers is expected to be even higher.
Daimler received the biggest fine at 1.01 billion. Sweden's Volvo was fined 670 million and Iveco, part of Italian truck and tractor maker CNH Industrial, was fined 494 million. DAF Trucks, owned by the US group Paccar, received a 752 million fine. Under current regulations, the companies could have been fined up to 10 percent of their annual revenue, which is 10.7 billion. Scania, a Volkswagen subsidiary, did not settle and will continue to be under investigation.
"These truck makers colluded for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules," the EU statement said.
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said the fines were a clear "message to companies that cartels are not accepted." The truck manufacturers were responsible for nine out of 10 of the medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, she added.
But the EU said the collusion was not aimed at avoiding or manipulating compliance with the new emission standards, nor did its investigation find any evidence of the use of emissions cheating software.