The trucks cartel

The fuel efficiency of trucks in Europe improved little for 20 years while EU truckmakers were engaged in a price fixing cartel.

In July 2016 the European Commission levied a €2.93 billion record-breaking fine on truckmakers for running a cartel between 1997 and 2011. In September 2017, the Commission imposed an €880 million fine on Scania, bringing the total fines on EU truck-makers to €3.8 billion – a record cartel penalty. MAN was first to admit collusion, followed by Daimler, Volvo, Iveco and DAF. Scania maintains its innocence and appealed the Commission’s finding in late 2017.

The facts

According to the Commission’s 2016 legal findings (which did not cover Scania):

  • Collusion by truckmakers “took place in the form of regular meetings at venues of industry associations, at trade fairs, product demonstrations by manufacturers or competitor meetings”, as well as through “regular exchanges via e-mails and phone calls”;
  • Truckmakers conspired to delay installing EURO-standard emissions-reduction technology until the deadline for its introduction.

On top of this, the Commission found that truckmakers:

  • Agreed the additional prices they would charge customers for installing EURO equipment;
  • Exchanged detailed spreadsheets showing pricing strategy and upcoming price changes, as well as the introduction of a "unified template" for the exchange of such information from 2008;
  • Took advantage of the introduction of the euro currency to raise prices, particularly in France, which had, until then, the most competitively-priced trucks;
  • Shared sales data and technical information, sub-divided by truck category.

In deciding the level of fines, the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager (pictured, above), noted the collusion was of "a continuous nature", the common purpose being "the distortion of independent price setting", together with delays to introducing emission-reduction technology.

The €3.8 billion fines – on Daimler, DAF, Volvo, Renault, Iveco, MAN and Scania – break down as follows:


EU offices / operations

Global turnover (2015)

Amount of fine




€1 009m


Frechen (Ger)

Eindhoven (Neth)





Saint-Priest (France)

Ismaning (Ger)





Ulm (Ger)








No fine as it co-operated first

Scania (under appeal)

Södertälje (Swe)



Fines were based on 30% of the value of sales subject to cartel behaviour. MAN obtained a complete reduction for being the first to admit the collusion while other truckmakers received reductions based on the timing and level of their cooperation. Scania did not settle and therefore did not receive any reduction. The above companies account for more than 90% of EU-made trucks.