BMW, Volkswagen fined £ 750million by EU over emissions collusion Business News

BMW and Volkswagen have been fined € 875million (£ 753million) by the European Commission, which said the companies had agreed to limit the development and production of emission control systems cars.

The companies, as well as Daimler, have avoided competing on technology to limit nitrogen oxide pollution from diesel passenger cars, the Commission said. But Daimler was not fined after denouncing the talks. All parties have confessed and agreed to settle the case, he said.

This is the first time that the EU’s executive body has imposed antitrust fines to prevent the use of technical developments, as opposed to more traditional practices like price fixing.

Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s antitrust chief, said that while the three companies were technically able to cut harmful emissions even further than the law required, they were resisting competition and denying consumers the ability to purchase gasoline. less polluting cars. This made their scheme illegal, she said.

Ms Vestager said the companies have agreed on the size of tanks containing a urea solution known as AdBlue, which is injected into the exhaust stream of a vehicle to limit pollution by diesel engines, as well as the distance a motorist can expect to travel before the tank needs to be refilled.

Cooperation between companies is allowed under EU rules when it leads to efficiency gains, such as the faster introduction of new technologies, but collusion to limit potential benefits is not, she added.

Ms Vestager said: “Competition and innovation in car pollution management are essential for Europe to meet our ambitious green deal goals. This decision shows that we will not hesitate to take action against all forms of cartel behavior that jeopardizes this objective. “

Volkswagen said it never actually implemented the plans. The tanks eventually produced by the three automakers were “two to three times the size” of what they discussed, the company said, adding that it was considering an appeal to the European Court of Justice.

“The Commission is breaking new ground with this decision, as it is the first time it has pursued technical cooperation as an antitrust violation,” the company said in a statement. “It also imposes fines even though the content of the talks was never implemented and therefore customers were never harmed.”

BMW said the five-year discussions over AdBlue tanks had “no influence on the company’s product decisions.” Significantly, the Commission’s fine revealed that there had been no collusion involving previous allegations of using software to restrict AdBlue dosing, he added.

BMW said it set aside 1.4 billion euros (£ 1.2 billion) based on the Commission’s initial accusations, but reduced the figure in May when more serious allegations in the case no ‘were unfounded.

Volkswagen was fined around £ 432million and BMW was fined £ 320million. Volkswagen said several other forms of cooperation examined were not inappropriate under antitrust law.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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This notice was published: 2021-07-08 14:56:53

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