EU probes VW, BMW, Daimler over alleged emissions collusion

By Philip Blenkinsop and Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are investigating whether BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen colluded to restrict the rollout of clean emission technology, a move that could lead to hefty fines for the German carmakers. The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation on Tuesday, nearly a year after it raided the companies and two years after it slapped a record 2.93 billion euro ($3.4 billion)fine on a group of truckmakers including Daimler for fixing prices and delaying the adoption of cleaner engine technology. The EU executive said the 'circle of five' - BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group's VW, Audi and Porsche - held meetings where they may have colluded to limit the development and roll-out of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in Europe

Reuters September 19, 2018 00:06:28 IST
EU probes VW, BMW, Daimler over alleged emissions collusion

EU probes VW BMW Daimler over alleged emissions collusion

By Philip Blenkinsop and Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are investigating whether BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen colluded to restrict the rollout of clean emission technology, a move that could lead to hefty fines for the German carmakers.

The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation on Tuesday, nearly a year after it raided the companies and two years after it slapped a record 2.93 billion euro ($3.4 billion)fine on a group of truckmakers including Daimler for fixing prices and delaying the adoption of cleaner engine technology.

The EU executive said the "circle of five" - BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group's VW, Audi and Porsche - held meetings where they may have colluded to limit the development and roll-out of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in Europe.

"These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The Commission said the technologies involved were selective catalytic reduction systems, which reduce nitrogen oxides from diesel car emissions, and "Otto" particulate filters that reduce particulate matter emissions from petrol cars.

The EU antitrust enforcer said the carmakers had also discussed other technical issues, such as common requirements for car parts and testing procedures, but it did not have sufficient indications that these meetings were anti-competitive.

It also said there were no signs that the companies illegally coordinated with each other in the use of so-called defeat devices to cheat regulatory testing. Volkswagen admitted to using such illegal software in 2015, sparking a scandal that has cost it more than $27 billion in penalties and fines.

Volkswagen and Daimler, which has claimed whistleblower status to avoid any fines, said they were cooperating with the Commission. BMW said it would continue to support the EU authority.

Campaign group Transport & Environment said it was time for regulators to take action.

"The automotive industry was once a jewel in Europe’s industrial crown, but its global reputation is now deeply tarnished and cannot be trusted anymore," said Greg Archer, a director at the group.

"It has become its own worst enemy and needs regulators to act with strength and decisiveness to clean it up and establish rules that put it on a path to zero emissions."

Companies can face fines up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching EU rules. The car industry has in recent years faced billion euro fines worldwide for fixing prices of various auto parts.

($1 = 0.8559 euros)

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Additional reporting by Jan Schwartz in Hamburg and Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt; Editing by Mark Potter)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.