A modern truck is a highly sophisticated piece of machinery that has to meet exacting
Haulage companies operate in a highly competitive business world where the difference between profit and loss can be wholesale table blenders marginal.
As a result, every aspect of their operations must be carefully considered to find the right balance between cost, quality, service and price.One of the major outlays for any trucking business, after wages, is the cost of their vehicle fleet. This can be a huge outlay, whether it’s for a single truck or an entire fleet. A modern truck is a highly sophisticated piece of machinery that has to meet exacting standards to comply with all regulations and will have to work long hours for many years in order to pay back its purchase price.For truck manufacturers, the logistics industry is a vital partner for their success, and over the years the two industries have worked together for the mutual benefit of both.At least, that’s was what we thought until recently.The EU Fines Truck Makers for Running 14-Year Price Fixing CartelUK and European haulage companies were shocked when the EU recently announced that it was fining major European truck manufactures (including Iveco, DAF, Volvo/Renault, Daimler and MAN) a massive 2.93 billion euro for running a price fixing cartel for the past 14 years.This was shocking news for UK haulage companies, who place a great emphasis on fair trade and competition in the industry.According to Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition, the EU handed down their ruling after a five-year investigation which began in 2011.The five companies fined account for 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks manufactured in Europe. According to the EU, the companies colluded in three main areas: fixing the basic factory price that was a benchmark for any later negotiations, delaying the introduction of emissions technology, and, when this technology was introduced, fixing and charging customers a premium price.Scania has also been charged with being part of the cartel. However, the company refused to admit guilt nor did it cooperate with the investigation, which is still underway for this company.What Happens Next?As all five companies have admitted their guilt, they are now expected to face a series of massive lawsuits from all over Europe and the UK from more than 600,000 haulage companies who were forced to pay higher prices for their trucks and who possibly even suffered financial losses because of this.
A Dutch law firm, BarentsKrans, has already said that it has begun working with Claims Funding Europe, a legal financing group, to “prepare and file proceedings on behalf of businesses from all over Europe who bought trucks in the cartel period from 1997 to 2011”.In the UK, the Road Haulage Association Chief Executive Richard Burnett said that “truck manufacturers are our members’ key suppliers and enjoy a partnership which is very often based on trust”.He continued: “The association is actively considering representing the industry… and is making final detailed checks about making representation to the courts… Many of our members will want compensation.”