LONDON, November 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Estimated 10 million trucks sold in the EU during the cartel period
Estimated overcharge of c. EURO 10,500 per truck, 
Scale of overcharging could exceed an estimated EURO 100 billion
Bentham announced today that it proposes to fund legal action on behalf of truck purchasers who are victims of the European truck cartel.
On 19 July 2016, the European Commission (the Commission) found that truck manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF breached Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement, which prohibit cartels and other restrictive business practices.
These truck manufacturers were found by the Commission to have colluded by manipulating truck prices for 14 years and by passing-on to their customers the costs of compliance with stricter EU emission rules. For these breaches, the Commission imposed a record fine of €2.93 billion. MAN avoided a fine by informing the commission of the cartel.
All the truck manufacturers have acknowledged their involvement in the cartel, except for Scania whose involvement remains under investigation.
Jeremy Marshall, Chief Investment Officer at Bentham, referred to the enormity of the damage caused by the cartel, saying:
"From 1997 to 2011 some of the largest truck manufacturers in Europe acted as a cartel to cheat customers. The volume of truck sales covered by the European Commission is staggering - we estimate that around 10 million trucks were sold in the EU during the cartel period and that, within that number, and based on estimates of overcharges attributed to previous cartels, buyers of medium and heavy trucks were overcharged by an estimated EURO 10,500 per truck.
Bentham is determined to bring the opportunity to recover the overcharges to the attention of as many truck purchasers as it can and enable these victims of the cartel collectively to seek redress. Claims against the truck cartel are expected to be one of the largest ever compensation claims resulting from a cartel ruling."
The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said on 19 July:
"We have today put down a marker by imposing record fines 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. It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around 9 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."
Potential claimants who purchased or leased trucks from any one or more of the following companies - MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, DAF or Scania, during the period 1997 to 2011 - should register their details on the Bentham Europe website (http://www.benthameurope.com/en/trucks)
 Based on growth in registered good vehicles in the EU-28 1995-2011. Source: European Commission, EU Transport in Figures, Statistical Pocketbook 2014
 Based on a sample of 191 overcharge estimates. Source: Centre for European Economic Research, Discussion Paper No. 12-050 Cartel Overcharges and the Deterrent Effect of EU Competition Law
 Based on an estimated average medium/heavy truck price of approximately EURO 70,000. Source: Goods vehicle operating costs 2014 - DFF International for the Road Haulage Association
NOTES TO EDITORS
Bentham Europe's principal activities are the investigation and management of litigation and arbitration claims funded by its parent (Bentham Ventures). Bentham is currently funding and managing litigation on behalf of institutional shareholders against Tesco PLC (in England) and Volkswagen AG (in Germany), as well as investigating a number of further group actions. For further information please visit http://www.benthameurope.com.
The European Commission's Truck Cartel ruling
The European Commission's ruling of 19 July 2016 relates specifically to the market for the manufacturing of medium (weighing between 6 to 16 tonnes) and heavy trucks (weighing over 16 tonnes). The Commission's investigation revealed that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF had engaged in a cartel relating to:
- coordinating prices at "gross list" level
- the timing for the introduction of emission technologies
- the passing on to customers of the costs for the emissions technologies
The infringement covered the entire European Economic Area and lasted 14 years, from 1997 until 2011, when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms.
SOURCE Bentham Europe