Europe’s leading truck manufacturers might have already been fined over $4 billion for historic price fixing, but further claims look likely.
Manufacturers DAF, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo/Renault were found guilty of violating European Union competition rules by the European Commission (EC) in 2016 and 2017 and fined €3.8 billion ($4.2 billion).
The Commission found that over a 14-year period, senior managers at the manufacturers fixed truck prices, agreed the cost that truck buyers should be charged for emissions technologies and delayed the introduction of more fuel-efficient emissions technologies.
A number of class action claims are currently underway against truck manufacturers as a result of the EC’s findings and one of them, launched by the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Road Haulage Association (RHA), made serious headway this week.
The RHA is seeking compensation on behalf of thousands of hauliers who suffered financially as a result of what it calls the “cartel action” of truck manufacturers. It won the first round of its legal action earlier this week when the U.K’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) ruled that the RHA is fit to proceed with its collective claim.
“This is a very important milestone in what may prove to be a lengthy journey to recover compensation rightfully owed to truck operators,” said Richard Burnett, CEO of the RHA.
“The RHA is delighted that the Tribunal has recognized the ability of the RHA as a ‘well-established trade association’ to bring this collective claim, while at the same time rejecting outright attempts by the truck manufacturers to stifle the RHA’s claim at the outset.
“We are fully committed to seeing this process through to the end and it is a real achievement to have had such a clear victory at this early stage in the proceedings.”
The RHA’s proposed collective claim, which it has estimated could total more than $6 billion, covers all trucks over six tons of any make. It relates not only to trucks purchased or leased in the United Kingdom, but also to trucks purchased or leased in other European countries, provided the operator belongs to a group of companies that purchased or leased trucks registered in the United Kingdom.
“The RHA is claiming for trucks sold both during the cartel period – 1997 to 2011 – and afterwards to the present day. The claim also covers new and second-hand trucks,” said a statement.
UK Trucks Claim (UKTC) is also seeking to bring a collective claim on behalf of truck operators.
The second part of the RHA’s collective proceedings order application is now expected to be heard by the CAT around October 2020 with a judgement expected a few months later.
“The RHA expects the claim to run for several years but is confident that compensation will be awarded in due course,” said a statement.
No response was forthcoming from MAN, DAF or Iveco at the time this article was published.
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