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From January 17, 1997, to January 18, 2011, six leading truck manufacturers (DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes, Volvo/Renault, and Scania) engaged in a cartel. They manipulated “gross list” prices, delayed the introduction of vehicles with newer emission technologies, and passed on the development costs of these technologies to buyers. The cartel was informally established at a meeting in a Brussels hotel on January 17, 1997, marking the beginning of this illicit cooperation.

Development and Exposure of the Cartel

Initially, senior managers of these companies met frequently, sometimes at trade fairs, and supplemented their discussions with phone conversations until 2004. After this, the cartel activities were coordinated through German subsidiaries of these manufacturers, with communications primarily electronic, including emails and occasional face-to-face meetings (e.g., in Munich on July 4-5, 2005). MAN reported the existence of the cartel to the European Commission on September 20, 2010, effectively ending its involvement and applying for the leniency program. This led to unannounced inspections by the Commission in January 2011, signaling the formal end of the cartel on January 18, 2011.

Legal Proceedings and Fines

Preliminary proceedings against the truck manufacturers were officially opened by the European Commission on November 20, 2014. Due to their cooperation under the leniency program and provision of evidence, MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler (Mercedes), and Iveco received reduced fines. On July 19, 2016, the Commission imposed record fines totaling over €2.9 billion on DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes, and Volvo/Renault for their involvement in the cartel. Scania, which had not agreed to the settlement, continued to contest the charges. On September 27, 2017, Scania was fined €880 million for violating EU antitrust rules. Scania’s appeal was dismissed by the European Court on February 2, 2022, upholding the €880 million fine.

Impact and Compensation

These legal actions highlight the European Commission’s strict enforcement of competition laws, especially concerning practices that affect the cost efficiency and innovation within the truck manufacturing industry. Companies and individuals who purchased or leased affected trucks during the cartel period have opportunities for compensation, facilitated by companies like LitFin, which offers legal proceeding financing and claim buyouts in the Netherlands. These events underscore the importance of maintaining competition to foster the development of environmentally friendly technologies in the European transport sector.

Key takeaways

  • From 1997 to 2011, leading truck manufacturers formed a cartel manipulating prices and delaying emission technologies, leading to €3.8 billion in fines by the European Commission.
  • Truck purchasers from 1997 to 2014 may receive compensation, with options for legal proceeding financing in the Netherlands or immediate claim buyouts through LitFin.
  • MAN received full immunity for disclosing the cartel, while other participants like Volvo/Renault and Daimler received reduced fines for cooperating with the EU’s investigation.
  • Whether you were affected or are just exploring options you can check your eligibility for compensation.


  1. The chronological history of the Truck Cartel – TruckLex [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
  2. Press corner [Internet]. European Commission – European Commission. Available from:


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