Scania said this week it is “disappointed” that a top EU court has dismissed its appeal against a €880.5m (£751.3m) EU fine for being part of a price fixing cartel and insisted it is innocent of the charges.

The ruling relates to the EC’s antitrust investigations into the truck cartel, which was launched in 2010 and saw the EC carry out dawn raids at the offices of Daimler, Iveco, DAF, Scania and Volvo/Renault in 2011. MAN was also involved but was granted immunity after bringing the cartel to the attention of the authorities.

The cartel members were found guilty of fixing the price of their trucks to pass on the cost of required environmental upgrades to their customers and protect their profits.

Scania has always insisted it is innocent of the charges and has made successive appeals against a fine of €880.5m. However earlier this month the Court of Justice dismissed its final appeal, ending the long running case and opens the door for claimants seeking damages from Scania.

The court said in a statement: ”Scania appealed against the judgement of the General Court to the Court of Justice, which today dismisses it in its entirety, thereby upholding the judgement of the General Court.”

Despite the ruling, Scania remained definiant this week. A Scania spokesperson told MT that the manufacturer maintains it is innocent of the charges. He said: “We are disappointed by the ruling but it is what it is. We stand by our original position as stated. We deny culpability. Scania has never accepted any of the accusations.”

Scania, which is owned by Volkswagen, was the only manufacturer to insist it was innocent of the charges of price fixing and collusion and to challenge its fine in the EU courts..

The EC’s antitrust investigations into the truck cartel started in 2010 with an immunity application submitted by MAN. In January 2011, the EC carried out dawn raids at the offices of Daimler, Iveco, DAF, Scania and Volvo/Renault.

In July 2016, Daimler, MAN, Iveco, DAF and Volvo/Renault acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case. However, Scania decided to withdraw from that settlement procedure and opted to fight instead, rejecting the settlement.

In its settlement decision of July 2016, the EC imposed a record fine of €2.93 billion on Daimler, Iveco, DAF and Volvo/Renault. At the time, this was the highest fine ever imposed by European competition regulators.

MAN received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, thereby avoiding a fine of approximately €1.2bn under the EC’s 2006 leniency notice.

In September 2017, 14 months after the settlement with the other cartelists, the EC imposed a fine of €880.5m on Scania AB, Scania CV AB and Scania Deutschland GmbH (Scania), after Scania’s refusal to settle the case.

 Although MAN and Scania both belong to the Volkswagen Group, they followed a different approach at the time.

In September 2017, the EC found that Scania had also broken EU competition rules, as it had colluded for 14 years, from January 1997 to January 2011, with the other truck manufacturers (Daimler, MAN, Iveco, DAF and Volvo/Renault) on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet stricter emission rules. Scania appealed that decision and lost its appeal in 2022.

Scania then brought a further appeal against the decision before the European Court of Justice, which was dismissed by the General Court to the Court of Justice earlier this month.

This final ruling now means Scania must assume joint and several liability for the other cartel participants, allowing the injured parties to assert their claims for damages against Scania.

The RHA has been working with law firm Backhouse Jones to get operators compensation from the cartel members. The case represents an action on behalf of all truck operators whether they are RHA members or not and is free to join, with no financial risk.

Backhouse director Jonathan Backhouse said: ”We are not surprised by the outcome of this appeal. Everyone that has looked at this case has concluded that Scania was involved in this cartel, so it is no surprise to anyone, except perhaps Scania.”