EU accuses BMW, Daimler and VW of emissions collusion

German firms coordinated over limiting vehicle AdBlue consumption and delaying the introduction of petrol particulate filters

Emissions testing pipe

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen (including Audi and Porsche) have been accused of colluding to restrict competition on emission-reducing technology in a preliminary European Commission report.

The Commission has issued a Statement of Objections saying that, in its view, the manufacturers breached EU antitrust rules. The firms allegedly coordinated their AdBlue dosing strategies, tank size and refill ranges between 2006 and 2014 in order to limit AdBlue consumption in their cars.

JLR recalls 44,000 cars over “excessive” CO2 emissions

While this will have meant owners did not have to refill their diesel cars’ AdBlue tanks as often, something likely to have improved the ownership experience, it also reduced the systems’ effectiveness when it came to cleaning up exhaust gases.

The three companies have also been accused of delaying the introduction of Otto particulate filters (OPFs) – which limit harmful exhaust emissions from petrol-engined cars – in their new direct injection petrol models between 2009 and 2014.

In a statement, the Commission said: “The Commission's preliminary view is that the car manufacturers' behaviour aimed at restricting competition on innovation for these two emission cleaning systems and in doing so, denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers.”

It added: “The sending of a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.”

New AIR Index car emissions system launches with red, amber and green ratings

BMW Group issued a statement in response, saying: “The BMW Group attaches great importance to the findings confirmed by the European Commission in its press release of 18 September 2018 that the ongoing investigations concern only potential violations of competition law and not deliberate unlawful manipulation of the emission control system. There is no allegation of this kind against the BMW Group.

“The BMW Group is committed to responsible and lawful conduct as the basis for all its business activities. The company has established a comprehensive compliance management system to ensure compliance with applicable legislation, including the provisions of antitrust law.”

A spokesperson for Daimler said: “We are aware that a statement of objections has been issued and are awaiting formal notification. Daimler has been cooperating extensively with the European Commission as leniency applicant already at an early stage and does not expect to receive a fine in this matter. We have no further comments to make, as this is an ongoing case.”

In a statement, Volkswagen said: “The Commission acknowledges the fact that cooperation between manufacturers on technical issues is widespread in the global automotive industry.

“After having investigating numerous other technical topics, which were discussed in the Circles of Five, the Commission stated last year that it 'does not have sufficient indications that these discussions… constituted anti-competitive conduct that would merit further investigation.' The proceedings were therefore limited to conduct relating to emission control systems only.”

Click here for everything you need to know about the new WLTP tests...

Recommended

VW to pay customer £25,000 following new Dieselgate ruling
Volkswagen

VW to pay customer £25,000 following new Dieselgate ruling

Volkswagen has lost a landmark court case in Germany and must now pay significant compensation
26 May 2020
VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds
VW Emissions scandal update 2
Volkswagen

VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds

The UK’s High Court has ruled that VW installed devices to cheat emissions tests in thousands of its cars
6 Apr 2020
Best diesel cars 2020
Diesel hatchback group test
Best cars & vans

Best diesel cars 2020

Covering all the bases, here's our view on the best diesel cars to have on your shortlist if you're buying a car in 2020
2 Jan 2020
Audi appoints Markus Duesmann as new CEO
Markus Duesmann - Audi CEO
Audi

Audi appoints Markus Duesmann as new CEO

Markus Duesmann will take up the position of Audi CEO on April 1 next year, replacing Bran Schot
15 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV
News

How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV

Electric car maker reveals whole-life CO2 emissions of the Polestar 2 are better than a petrol XC40 - but EV is only 14% cleaner with global energy mi…
17 Sep 2020
New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review
Rolls-Royce Ghost

New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review

The all-new luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon brings new levels of refinement
18 Sep 2020