(Reuters) - Top European truckmakers operated a cartel for 14 years to delay the progress of emissions-reducing technology, the Financial Times reported, citing leaked documents in a European Commission investigation.
The newspaper said that one of the documents states that DAF Trucks, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo and MAN "agreed the timing and price increase levels for the introduction of new emission technologies" to comply with Euro 3 rules on nitrogen oxide and other emissions in 2000. (on.ft.com/1vanmz5)
A spokeswoman for the European Commission, which announced last month it had sent charges to truckmakers it accused of a long-running and serious price-fixing cartel, said it would not comment on the leaked document. Known as a statement of objections, it lists the accusations against the firms.
Daimler, Volvo and Iveco parent CNH Industrial all confirmed receipt last month of the statements of objections, together with Volkswagen-controlled Scania and MAN.
European Union officials raided several truckmakers in 2011 to start an antitrust investigation. It had found collusion dating back to January 1997 and ending in January 2011, the Financial Times said.
“All competitors participated directly and throughout the full duration in all the constituent elements of the cartel,” the FT quoted one of the leaked documents as saying.
Companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their annual revenue if the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of EU rules barring cartels and the abuse of market dominance.
Germany’s Daimler said last week it was setting aside an additional 600 million euros ($740 million) to cover potential costs related to the antitrust investigation by the European Commission.
Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore; additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; Editing by Grant McCool and Mark Potter