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Volkswagen and BMW among the four German automakers were fined US$1 billion by the European Union

Volkswagen and BMW are among the four German automakers that have been fined $1 billion. European Union (I) The Associated Press stated that they are colluding with each other to limit the development of less harmful vehicle emission control technologies.

According to the European Commission, Audi, Porsche, and Daimler have also participated in collusion to limit competition to limit pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars. Although Daimler participated in the collusion with other companies, it was not fined because it exposed the plan to the European Union.

“These automakers are illegally colluding to limit competition in the area of ​​clean technology for diesel vehicle emissions,” said Margaret Vestag, Executive Vice President of the European Commission.

“This is the first time that the committee has discovered that cooperation in technical elements, rather than price fixing or market sharing, constitutes cartel behavior,” she said.

Vestag said the car companies have colluded for more than five years so that they can avoid “competition in cleanliness better than EU emission standards require.”

Volkswagen and BMW are among the four German automakers that have been fined $1 billion by the European Union. In this photo, Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, talks to the media in the European Commission Press Room in Brussels, Belgium, July 8, 2021.
Thierry Monas/Getty Images

For more reports from the Associated Press, please see below:

This is the first time the European Commission has imposed a collusion fine for preventing the use of technology development, rather than a more traditional approach like price manipulation.

Vestag said that although these companies have the technology to reduce harmful emissions beyond legal limits, they resist competition and deprive consumers of the opportunity to purchase less polluting cars.

“They did this despite the availability of relevant technology,” Vestag said. She said this made their practice illegal.

According to Vestager, the two companies have reached an agreement on the size of an on-board fuel tank containing a urea solution called AdBlue, which is injected into the exhaust stream to limit diesel engine pollution and can be used before the fuel tank needs to be refilled. Expected mileage. Larger water tanks can reduce more pollution.

Vestag said that according to EU rules, cooperation between companies can bring efficiency improvements, such as faster introduction of new technologies. “But the dividing line is clear: companies cannot limit the full potential of any type of technology by coordinating their actions,” she said.

Volkswagen stated that the conclusion of the investigation is that the other forms of cooperation under review are not inappropriate under the anti-monopoly law.

The company said in a statement: “The (European) Commission adopted this decision to open up a new legal basis, because this is the first time it has prosecuted technical cooperation as a violation of the antitrust law.” “Even negotiated. The content has never been implemented, and the customer has never been harmed, but it is also fined.”

Volkswagen stated that the fuel tanks produced by all relevant automakers are “two to three times larger” than discussed in the negotiations. It stated that it is considering an appeal to the European Court of Justice.

BMW stated that the discussion on AdBlue storage tanks “has no impact on the company’s product decisions.” The company said that the fine notice found no collusion involving allegations of early use of the software to limit the AdBlue dosage, which is of great significance.

BMW stated that it had set aside 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) based on the commission’s preliminary allegations, but since the more serious allegations in the case were not confirmed, it reduced the provision in May.

The case is not directly related to the “Diesel Door” scandal of the past decade, when Volkswagen admitted that about 11 million diesel cars worldwide had deceptive software installed that reduced nitrogen oxides when the car was placed on a test machine. Emissions, but allow higher emissions and improved engine performance during normal driving.

The scandal cost Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and civil settlements, and resulted in the recall of millions of vehicles. Volkswagen in the scandal did not use urea tanks, but relied on another technology to reduce pollution.

Transport in Brussels, Belgium
In a file photo on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, commuters wait in traffic during the morning rush hour in Brussels.
Francisco Seco/Associated Press Photo

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