EU fines BMW and Volkswagen Group $ 1 billion
The EU executive said the trio had colluded on technical developments in nitrogen oxide cleaning, but Daimler was not fined for exposing the cartel.
“The five automobile manufacturers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche had the technology to reduce pollutant emissions beyond the legally prescribed level of EU emissions standards,” said EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
“So today’s decision is about how legitimate tech collaboration went wrong.
Volkswagen said it was considering taking legal action against the fine and said the penalty for technical discussions about emissions technology with other automakers is a questionable precedent.
“The commission is breaking new legal ground because it is treating technical cooperation as an antitrust violation for the first time,” said the German carmaker after a fine of 502 million euros.
“In addition, fines are imposed, although the content of the talks was never implemented and no customers were harmed,” Volkswagen added in a statement.
BMW agreed to the settlement proposed by the European Commission and paid a fine of 373 million euros.
“This underlines that there has never been an allegation of illegal manipulation of exhaust gas cleaning systems by the BMW Group,” the company said in a statement.
($ 1 = 0.8460 euros)