The European Commission has reportedly announced that it has opened a formal investigation to probe BMW, VW and Daimler to determine whether they colluded to circumvent each other’s direct competition on clean emission technologies. If proven, the charges would mean that the manufacturers wrongfully chose to limit the effectiveness of emission control technologies, cite reliable sources.
Reportedly, the EU is specifically assessing whether the companies conspired to restrict the development of two types of emission control systems; the catalytic systems which reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide emitted by diesel engines and the Otto systems that reduce the particulate matter emitted by petrol powered cars.
European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager reportedly stated that these technologies are developed with the intention of making motorized vehicles less damaging to the environment. However, if it is proven that these companies colluded to limit this technology to avoid competition it would mean that they denied customers the opportunity to purchase less polluting vehicle.
According to a report by the BBC News, if the Commission discovers that there has been an intentional wrongdoing then the companies would be facing very heavy penalties that could potentially run into hundreds of millions or even billions of euros.
Reportedly, as part of preliminary investigations the European Commission had raided the offices of BMW, VW, Audi and Daimler back in 2017 and had also inspected quality testing procedures and the car parts used by the automakers. However, it failed to find any evidence that proved that the companies colluded to utilize the illegal emissions defeating devices.
For the uninitiated, the emission defeating devices also known as defeat devices are similar to the ones used by VW in their cars to circumvent emissions tests. The 2015 revelation that VW used these devices resulted in $25 billion worth of fines being imposed on VW group.
The Commission reportedly stated that the investigation has no legal deadline but refused to reveal potential penalties or fines.