EU claims BMW, VW and Daimler have colluded to limit developments in emissions technology
The European Commission has released a statement claiming that three German car manufacturers have colluded to restrict the development of technologies that clean the emissions of petrol and diesel cars.
The Commission’s preliminary view is that BMW, Daimler and VW, worked together to limit the development and roll-out of emission cleaning technology. By doing so, they have denied consumers in Europe the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the fact that the technology is available to the manufacturers.
The Commission carried out an in-depth investigation that has led it to believe that these manufacturers breached EU antitrust rules between 2006 to 2014.
“EU competition rules do not allow them to collude on exactly the opposite: not to improve their products, not to compete on quality.”
Margrethe Vestager – EU Commission
Margrethe Vestager, the Commissioner in charge of the competition policy, said: “Companies can cooperate in many ways to improve the quality of their products. However, EU competition rules do not allow them to collude on exactly the opposite: not to improve their products, not to compete on quality.
“We are concerned that this is what happened in this case and that Daimler, VW and BMW may have broken EU competition rules.
“As a result, European consumers may have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology.
“The three car manufacturers now have the opportunity to respond to our findings.”
The ‘collusion’ between the companies took place in the framework of the manufacturers’ meetings, referred to as the “circle of five” technical meetings.
The three manufacturers have now been informed of the allegations and are now entitled to examine the documents presented to them by the Commission, before replying and exercising their right to defence.
Once the manufacturers have laid down their defence and made their statements, the Commission will conclude its findings. If there is sufficient evidence that an infringement has taken place, the Commission may impose a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.