European Union regulators charge BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen with emissions collusion

European Union regulators charge BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen with emissions collusion

European Union regulators charge BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen with emissions collusion

At the time, Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW all said they were co-operating with the EU Commission.

The EU focus is on selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides emissions of diesel passenger cars through the injection of urea, which is also called AdBlue, in the exhaust gas stream.

The finding adds to the auto industry's woes after Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to cheating on emissions tests in the USA, which led to a worldwide reevaluation of how cars are tested and how to limit emissions to make air cleaner and fight climate change.

The European Commission on Friday announced that it sent a Statement of Objections to BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for allegedly colluding to restrict competition and artificially delay the development of emission-reducing vehicle technology.

In an emailed statement, a Daimler spokesperson said that the automaker is cooperating with the European Commission and would not comment further on this ongoing case.

Specifically, the Commission has accused BMW, Daimler, and VW of coordinating their AdBlue dosing strategies and delaying the use of Otto Particle Filters, which reduce particulate emissions from the exhaust of petrol passenger cars.

The EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: "Companies can cooperate in many ways to improve the quality of their products". In the Commission's preliminary view, BMW, Daimler and VW coordinated to avoid, or at least to delay, the introduction of OPF in their new (direct injection) petrol passenger vehicle models between 2009 and 2014, and to remove uncertainty about their future market conduct.

The view taken by the Commission, preliminarily, is that by restricting competition on innovation with regard to these two technologies, the companies have denied consumers the chance to buy less polluting cars.

BMW has agreed to pay an 8.5 million-euro fine after an investigation found the company had installed the wrong emissions software in a limited number of vehicles by accident.

A final judgement on this preliminary investigation will be made at a later date.

The so-called "Statement of Objections" comes a year and a half after European Union authorities first raided the offices of the three companies over reports of possible collusion.

The companies now have the right to examine the documents reviewed by the commission, reply in writing and request an oral hearing. According to the Commission, they could be forced to pay a fine equivalent to 10% of their annual global turnover if there's "sufficient evidence" that they broke the law.

There is, adds the commission in its preliminary antitrust statement, no deadline for it to complete its investigations.

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