As previously reported, Scania has tried to go its own way in the truck cartel process, unlike other truck manufacturers. In its 42-page ruling published on 2nd February 2022, the European Court clearly rejected this option.
According to the European Commission’s investigation, the leading truck manufacturers DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes (Daimler), Renault, Scania and Volvo operated an illegal cartel between 1997 and 2011, whereby they clearly restricted free competition through various back-end agreements and thereby caused damages to their customers. The total value of the fines imposed on them was close to €3 billion. As MAN was the initiator of the investigation (acting as the whistleblower) and cooperated throughout the evidentiary procedure, it escaped the fines.
Actually, it was not only MAN but all the other truck manufacturers who cooperated with the authority in the hope of a favourable settlement, even Scania at the beginning.
However, Scania later decided to follow a strategy of opposition. Therefore, the European Commission had no choice but to investigate on the basis of the evidence already available, which resulted in a judgment in 2017 that fined Scania in the amount of €880 million for participating in the cartel.
The company took legal action against the decision.
They argued that the protection of innocence, the rights of the defence and the duty of impartiality had been infringed.
The court rejected this argument and confirmed that the “conditions for a unitary and continuous infringement” were clearly met in Scania’s case.
Scania may appeal against the decision to the European Court of Justice, which is expected to extend the duration of the proceedings by a further 1-2 years.
However, the future decision of the ECJ will be final and end this proceeding.