EU Truck Cartel continues to dominate haulage sector headlines

Road Haulage Association's picture

11th September 2017

Last year the European Commission fined five of the major truck manufacturers 2.9 billion Euros for colluding in a price-fixing cartel.

As a result the Road Haulage Association, its legal counsel Backhouse Jones and Exchange Chambers are leading a group claim for compensation before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London. The financial support for this group action is being provided by litigation funding experts Therium.

Almost 2000 hauliers have now signed up to the action and a further 650 have expressed and registered their interest. Those that have already signed up account for circa 120,000 vehicles over 6 tonnes purchased or leased during the Cartel period.

The claim is not limited to RHA members. All operators can join the claim and benefit from both a highly competitive funding arrangement and one of the largest litigation insurance policies ever placed in the UK. 

The Cartel operated for fourteen years between 1997 until 2011. During that time, 650,000 vehicles over 6 tonnes were either leased or sold to approximately 70,000 hauliers from 80,000 operating centres across the UK.

Notes to Editors 

The extent to which the relevant manufacturers (MAN, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco, Volvo/Renault, and DAF) colluded on prices is evident from the European Commission’s decision:

· The collusion included agreements on pricing and gross price increases to align gross prices in the EEA.

· From 1997 to 2004, the Cartel participants discussed their respective gross price increases.

· During additional bilateral meetings in 1997 and 1998, the Cartel members exchanged information with a view to harmonising their gross price lists for the EEA. 

· At time of introducing the EURO currency, the truck manufacturers discussed reducing rebates.

· Over time, truck configurators, containing detailed gross prices for all models and options, replaced the traditional gross list prices. This facilitated the calculation of the gross price for each possible truck configuration. The exchange happened on a multilateral and bilateral level. Spreadsheets were exchanged split by truck standard model for each producer. The exchange of configurators helped the comparison of own offers with those of competitors and increased transparency of the market. It particularly helped the truck manufacturers to understand which extras would be compatible with which trucks and which options would be part of the standard or an extra. 

· Occasionally, the cartel members, including senior representatives from HQs, discussed net prices to hauliers. 

· The truck manufacturers also exchanged their respective delivery periods and their country-specific market forecasts, subdivided by countries and truck categories. 

· In relation to EURO III engines, the truck manufacturers agreed on the range for the additional charge for EURO standard compliant trucks and agreed not to introduce them until compulsory to do so.

· During one session in 2005 the participants exchanged information on the additional cost of complying with the EURO IV emissions standards. Further meetings involving representatives of the German subsidiaries continued the discussions on price increases and the price increases for EURO IV and V standards.

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