German automakers have been fined € 875 million ($ 1 billion) for a cartel conspiracy to restrict the use of their diesel cleaning technology. This case is not related to the Volkswagen Dieselgate.
The head of the antimonopoly committee of the European Union Margrethe Vestager announced at a press conference in Brussels about the sanctions against German companies. All companies admitted their guilt, in accordance with the settlement agreement Volkswagen will pay a fine of 502 million euros, and BMW – 373 million euros. According to Reuters, Daimler was also a member of the cartel, but was not fined, thanks to the fact that it was he who reported the existence of the collusion to the European regulator.
The cartel of the concerns BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen was formed more than 10 years ago. According to Margrethe Vestager, car manufacturers had the technology to reduce the harmful emissions of diesel vehicles to a greater extent than the EU directives required at the time. And it’s not about “dieselgate”, when Volkswagen installed special software on its diesel cars to cheat environmental tests, but about the technology of injecting AdBlue urea into the exhaust system to reduce the level of nitrogen oxides (NOx). The companies agreed to limit the size of AdBlue tanks between 2006 and 2014, which reduced the technology’s efficiency and made it less convenient to use.
“This is the first such case. We have never had a cartel whose goal was to restrict the use of new technologies, ”Vestager emphasized.
Volkswagen lawyers, in turn, said they are considering the possibility of challenging the claim, explaining that the fine for technical cooperation creates a “dubious precedent”.
“The European Commission is entering a new judicial territory because for the first time it views technical cooperation as a violation of antitrust laws,” Volkswagen officials said, adding that the fines were imposed despite the fact that there was virtually no aggrieved party in the case. / p>