Published: Tue, October 24, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

VW and Daimler Inspected by European Union as Cartel Probe Widens

VW and Daimler Inspected by European Union as Cartel Probe Widens

Leading carmakers including Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz stand accused of holding illicit meetings since the 1990s to coordinate vehicle technology, cost, suppliers, markets and strategy.

Allegedly, the carmakers even agreed in secret talks on the size of tanks for chemicals used to treat harmful nitrogen oxides emissions from diesel motors.

These suspicions of understanding had been revealed this summer by the German media and were a little more damaged the image of German automobile manufacturers, already tainted by the cheating on the polluting emissions of diesel vehicles.

While the European Union refused to confirm its initial source for the cartel revelations, it has now confirmed Daimler's involvement: 'Daimler is cooperating with the Commission under its leniency program, ' an European Union representative said Friday.

Under European rules, the first firm to come forward with evidence of anticompetitive behaviour can be spared the worst of the punishment.

Last July, the influential weekly magazine Der Spiegel had launched the case: according to him, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have had for more than 20 years of secret meetings to agree on numerous technical aspects of their cars, particularly on the system of filtration of pollutant emissions, affecting and possibly consumers and sub-contractors.

A BMW statement has made pains to emphasis the difference between the price-fixing allegations of the cartel investigation and the Dieselgate scandal, which are two separate issues.

"We were irritated" by the other firms' decision to turn to the authorities, BMW executive Markus Duesmann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly on Sunday.

On Friday, EU competition authorities had already paid a visit to the headquarters of BMW in Munich.

The European Commission, which refused to confirm the company targeted, said it "can confirm that as of 16 October, its officials carried out an unannounced inspection at the premises of a auto manufacturer in Germany".

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