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European Union fines truck makers record $A4.26 billlion

TRUCK manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF have been fined a record 2.93 billion euros ($A4.26billion) for colluding on truck pricing.

The European Commission found the companies broke EU antitrust rules and colluded for 14 years on truck pricing and passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. reported the investigation was based on raids and a tip-off from MAN.

MAN avoided a 1.2 billion euros fine and was given full immunity as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission.

The collusion identified by the Commission included price fixing and concerned delaying new emission technologies required by the Euro III to Euro VI environmental standards, and passing on the costs of the technology to buyers.

The collusion was not aimed at avoiding or manipulating compliance with the new emission standards.

Commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager said the commission had imposed a record fine 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," she said.

"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.

"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." reported the plan started 14 years ago in a Brussels Hotel.

"Between 1997 and 2004, meetings were held at senior manager level, sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events," the commission says. "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."

The decision related specifically to the market for medium (six to 16 tons) and heavy trucks (over 16 tons).

In investigating the commission found that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF had engaged in a cartel relating to coordinating prices as "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.

All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case, receiving a 10% discount.

Daimler copped the biggest fine, just over 1 billion euros ($A1.5 billion), DAF 753 million euros ($A1.1billion), Volvo/Renault was fined 494 euros ($A725 million)

The Commission said Scania was not covered by the settlement and the investigation will continue for them.

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