EU TRUCK CARTEL
On 19th July 2016 the European Commission found, after a lengthy investigation, that the main truck manufacturers - DAF, MAN, Volvo/Renualt, Daimler, Iveco - had engaged in a price fixing conspiracy in breach of European Anti-trust rules and handed out fines of €2.93 Billion. MAN, as the initial whistle-blower, avoided a fine but admitted it's involvement in return for immunity. On 27 September 2017 the Commission announced that Scania, who had originally refused to settle along with the other manufacturers, had also been involved in the cartel in breach of EC anti-trust rules and imposed a fine of over €880 million.
The Commission's investigation revealed that the manufacturers communicated to coordinate or "fix" gross list pricing, as well as conspiring to coordinate the timing and implementation of emissions technologies and passing the costs of these technologies onto their customers. The Cartel's activity ran from 1997 - 2011.
The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said:
“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. It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other. For 14 years they colluded on the pricing and on passing on the costs for meeting environmental standards to customers. This is also a clear message to companies that cartels are not accepted."
WHO CAN CLAIM?
Any purchaser who purchased medium (6 to 16 tonnes) or heavy (over 16 tonnes) trucks in the period from 1997-2011.
WHAT CAN I CLAIM FOR?
The manufacturers have admitted their participation in the cartel. The Commission's decision released in April 2017 is binding proof that the manufacturer's behaviour took place and was illegal. This essentially means that the manufacturers cannot raise a liability defence and must meet any proven claim for loss. So, if you purchased a qualifying truck in the qualifying period you can claim for any overcharge plus interest. The overcharge will be the difference between what you actually paid for your trucks and what you should have paid for your trucks if there had not been a cartel. You will also be able to claim for any loss sustained due to the emissions technology conspiracy.
The overcharge is currently estimated at 10% to 25% per truck. So, if we take the lower end of that estimation at 10% and apply it to a truck costing £80,000 (bought between 1997-2011) you could be owed £8,000 for that one truck. If you bought 10 trucks per year over the 14 year period, 140 trucks in total, you could be owed £1,120,000. As you can see, the money potentially owed back to purchasers is substantial.
Calculating damages is likely to be a complex exercise involving forensic accountants and economists and the manufacturers may use the defence of "passing-on" - i.e. you recouped some of your loss when you sold the truck on at a price based on what you bought the truck for. Each case and outcome will turn on its own merits.
HOW CAN I CLAIM?
We are already handling claims for a large number of Northern Irish haulage companies. If you believe that you have purchased any qualifying trucks and would like to claim for the money potentially owed back to you then please fill out the questionnaire below and a member of our team will contact you shortly, or contact us at our Belfast office on a no obligation basis.