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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.”
To long enough!
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…..
The EU itself is complicit in
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.
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