Alleged cartel investigation continues

Investigations into an alleged cartel involving truck manufacturers continue, more than a year after the European Commission (EC) first said it suspected anti-competitive behaviour.

In November 2014, truck makers including Volvo, Daf, MAN, Daimler and Scania confirmed that they had received a statement of objections from the EC.

The EC said it had “concerns that certain heavy- and medium-duty truck producers may have agreed or co-ordinated their pricing behaviour in the European Economic Area”.

The statement of objections is a formal step in EC investigations into suspected violations of EU anti-trust rules. The addressees can examine the documents in the investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing.

If the EC concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, then it can issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.

"Phenomenal progress" in new truck registrations in November, says SMMT

New vehicle registrations were up 72.5% in November 2015 year-on-year, with 3,812 units above 6-tonnes GVW sold (2014: 2,210), according to the the SMMT.

For the 11-months ending 30 November, new truck registrations above 6-tonnes are up 22.3% to 39,793 (2014: 32,530).

However November 2014 was skewed by the introduction of European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) rules on 29 October 2014. This meant that all vehicles registered after that date had to be completed vehicles, which led to a spike in sales in October last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said that the “phenomenal progress” in new commercial vehicle registrations “with sustained growth over a number of years” was the result of “ever-more confident businesses” investing in fleets.

“The sharp upturn in truck registrations comes as no surprise, given the heavy fall seen in the same month last year – but the long-term trend of robust growth is encouraging,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Daf continued its market dominance in November, registering 987 units and a 24.75% market share, while Mercedes continued to cement second place with 750 units registered and a 19.7% market share. Scania too continued its strong year, registering 573 vehicles and a 15% market share. Volvo continues to be ranked fourth with 392 units registered in November and a 10.2% market share.

The real activity is mid-table, where MAN improved a 147 units registered and 6.6% market share in November 2014 to 359 units registered and an 8.7% market share in November 2015.

Iveco too had a strong performance, turning 77 units registered and a 3.5% share in November 2014 into 333 units registered and an 8.7% share in November 2015.

Renault stayed steady at 256 units and 6.7% of the market last month.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: “Truck sales looked buoyant in November with growth of 55.8% following last month’s decline of -31.5% - blamed on delays from the DVSA in getting type approvals via individual vehicle approval (IVA). Trucks registered in November will automatically need testing to obtain IVA/type-approval.
 
“The most significant truck growth came from the +16t rigid multi axle sector which was up 331%. These trucks are used in the construction and cleaning industry which continues to show confidence and growth in the economy. Tractor units which count for 40% of this year’s market showed a stable growth of 6.6% in November," she added.