Investigation will try to determine if the three brands colluded to stall development of emission control and reduction systems in the EU
James Attwood, digital editor
18 September 2018

The European Commission has launched what it has termed an “in-depth investigation” to determine whether BMW, Daimler and the Volkswagen Group colluded to avoid competing against each other in developing emission reduction technology.

The Commission says that such an agreement would be in breach of European Union antitrust rules. The launch of the investigation follows warranted inspections of BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Audi premises in Germany in October last year.

Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars.

“These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers.”

In a statement, the Commission said the investigation would centre on whether officials from BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche – termed the ‘circle of five’ – took part in meetings during which they colluded to limit the development and introduction of a number of emissions control systems – mainly selective catalytic reduction systems and ‘Otto’ particulate filters – for cars sold in the European Economic Area.

That would breach Article 101 of the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits business practices that limit control of technical development.The Commission said that it had “no indications” that the firms involved colluded with each other in the sort of illegal defeat devices Volkswagen was found guilty of using in the dieselgate scandal.

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It also said that the formal investigation solely concerns emissions control systems, while noting that the five companies discussed other technical topics, such as common quality requirements and testing procedures, and maximum speed at which cruise control and convertible car roofs can be used.

The Commission statement added: “At this stage the Commission does not have sufficient indications that these discussions between the ‘circle of five’ constituted anti-competitive conduct that would merit further investigation. EU antitrust rules leave room for technical cooperation aimed at improving product quality.”

Read more:

Dieselgate: Volkswagen accepts €880m fine from German court

Daimler to recall 770,000 Mercedes models due to emission 'defeat devices'

BMW headquarters raided in emissions cheat software hunt

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18 September 2018

  There was a chance that if Euro6 was hard to meet that others might have like VW had to in some way do something the same.....

Peter Cavellini.

18 September 2018

The EU itself is complicit in this scandal. All too easy for politicians to set ‘stringent’ pollution targets, get validation from stats showing an official fall in overall emissions (even if the truth is very different) and give themselves a big pat on the back.

Now of course they are keen to find fall guys lest the blame comes back to them.

18 September 2018

Does anyone belive new regs are brought in without first çonsulting'EU manufactureres?


Of course not.


The EU is a corrupt mess setting"standards" that are biased towards its own manufacturers . When it comes to automaotive the the Germans and French are head and shoulders above all others in fiddling the rules & regs to suit themselves.....


Always has been.

Steam cars are due a revival.

18 September 2018

its a case of "if" they colluded, but how much they colluded. Love a bit of superior German engineering, I also believe Bosch need to be dragged into it as well for their fuel "mangement" systems.

18 September 2018
Enough is enough. The sooner these three put the dirty diesels behind them the better for everyone. Stop holding back the hybrid power trains.

19 September 2018

The EU is bad for Europe.


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