German vehicle manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen reached agreements to avoid competition in the development of technology to reduce pollutant gas emissions, the European Commission said Friday, reporting a “preliminary” report.
“We fear that this is what has happened in this case and that Daimler, VW and BMW have violated competition rules in the EU,” European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, specifying that manufacturers “now have the opportunity to answer “to Brussels.
The initial findings of the investigation opened in September 2018 suggest that the three car manufacturers participated in a “collusive system” to “limit the development and deployment of emission reduction technologies for new diesel and gasoline vehicles,” he says.
These practices, which took place between 2006 and 2014, were agreed within the framework of technical meetings of car manufacturers called the “Circle of Five” and deprived consumers of buying less polluting vehicles, according to the community executive.
The systems that would have been affected would be selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for diesel engines and Otto Particle Filters (OPF) for gasoline-powered cars, says Brussels, which carried out a series of inspections in 2017.
The Volkswagen group confirmed having received the “statement of objections” from the Commission, to which it will respond after having evaluated it. Daimler, on the other hand, assured that he does not expect a fine from Brussels, since he was the first to admit these practices.
If the companies’ responses fail to convince the Commission, if the cartel is confirmed, it can impose a fine that could reach 10% of its annual turnover worldwide.