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...

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review
Porsche Macan prototype - front
Porsche Macan

New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a prototype version of the facelifted Porsche Macan SUV
13 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021
SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector
SsangYong J100 electric SUV
SsangYong

SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector

The tough looking electric mid-size SUV is slated for production next year and will be joined by a pick-up model
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021