Some of the UK’s biggest truck makers are under a microscope right now for possible price-fixing. The suspected cartel activity is under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. So far, the OFT has visited a Mercedes-Benz plant at Tongwell in southeast England.
One spokesperson for Daimler AG (parent company of Mercedes-Benz), said some of the company’s offices had been searched. He remarked about the searches, saying: “Of course we’re cooperating with the authorities.”
Other companies part of the investigation include Sweden’s Scania AB and MAN SE. Also, the second largest truck maker Volvo, is under the gun. The Swedish truck maker produces the brands Renault, Mack and UD Trucks. A letter was sent to notify them as being part of the investigation.
The penalties if these companies are found guilty of price-fixing are significant. They can impose fines of up to 10 per cent of a company’s annual global revenue. For example, earlier this year the OFT fined two tobacco manufacturers along with nine retailers a total of 225 million pounds for price-fixing of tobacco products. It is the largest total fine imposed by the regulator to date.
A spokesperson from the OFT commented on making any premature judgements, saying: “The OFT will not be in a position to conclude whether it considers the law has been infringed until it has completed its investigation and assessed the available evidence.”
The investigation is the largest in scope since the trial against four BA executives accused of colluding with Virgin Atlantic Airways on fuel surcharges in May.