Law firm Bentham Europe is filing a lawsuit, on behalf of purchasers and lessees, against truck companies MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, DAF and Scania for creating ‘a European truck cartel’ which saw an additional average of €10,500 (£9,031) added onto the list price of their vehicles.
Press reports have put the total possible claim against the manufacturers at around €90bn.
On 19 July 2016, the European Commission found that the truck manufacturers had breached Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement, which prohibits cartels and other restrictive business practices.
The 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 €2.93bn.
MAN avoided a fine by informing the Commission of the cartel.
All the truck manufacturers have acknowledged their involvement in the cartel, said Bentham, except for Scania whose involvement remains under investigation.
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 (in England) and Volkswagen AG (in Germany), as well as investigating a number of further group actions.
Jeremy Marshall, chief investment officer at Bentham, said: “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 €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.”