The EU handed a Volkswagen-owned truck-making firm a £771million fine yesterday for taking part in a price-fixing cartel that saw thousands of British customers ripped off.
In a move that will further damage the company’s reputation following the diesel emissions scandal, officials said that Scania had cheated customers for 14 years.
The European Commission said that the Swedish firm conspired with five other manufacturers in a plot initially hatched by senior managers during a hotel room meeting.
The EU handed a Volkswagen-owned truck-making firm a £771million fine yesterday for taking part in a price-fixing cartel that saw thousands of British customers ripped off
Customers across the continent – including an approximately 35,000 in the UK – are understood to have been overcharged by thousands of pounds between 1997 and 2011.
An investigation found that the companies had conspired to fix the price of trucks and also charged customers for implementing technology aimed at reducing emissions.
The other companies involved – MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault – were handed £2.6billion, the biggest ever handed out by the EU.
Scania initially refused to cooperate in the investigation, prompting yesterday’s fine. After blowing the whistle on the scandal, MAN, which is also owned by VW, was granted full immunity.
EU commission Margrethe Vestager, who has overseen huge fines against tech giants Google and Apple, yesterday affected a ‘substantial number’ of hauliers.
She said that the company could have received a ten per cent reduction in the size of the fine if it had complied with the investigation.
In a move that will further damage the company’s reputation following the diesel emissions scandal, officials said that Scania had cheated customers for 14 years
‘These trucks account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role in the European economy,’ she said.
‘Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other – also on environmental improvements.’
Officials said that during the first few years of the cartel senior managers from the companies’ head offices met regularly frequently, while it was run at a lower level from 2004.
A Scania spokesman yesterday denied the allegations. It is likely to appeal.