The European Commission has fined BMW and VW a collective €875m after finding the companies “illegally colluded to restrict competition in the area of emission cleaning technology for diesel cars.”
The carmakers colluded with Daimler to develop nitrogen oxide cleaning technologies, the commission said on Thursday. Daimler disclosed the cartel to European Commission, so it was not fined.
“For over five years, the car manufacturers deliberately avoided to compete on cleaning better than what was required by EU emission standards,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner. “And they did it despite the relevant technology being available.”
Both BMW and VW agreed to pay the penalties, but disputed the underlying rationale for the case. BMW, which was fined €373m, said the “discussions had no influence whatsoever on the company’s product decisions” and “were clearly not held in secret”, reported the Financial Times.
VW, which will pay €502m, told Reuters that the commission was “entering new judicial territory, because it is treating technical cooperation for the first time as an antitrust violation.” It said that was considering an appeal, which the company has until mid-September to file.