EU fines German car makers $1B over emission collusion | World
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union handed down $1 billion in fines to major German car manufacturers Thursday, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission-control systems.
Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen along with its Audi and Porsche divisions avoided competing on technology to restrict pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars, the EU’s executive commission said. Daimler wasn’t fined after it revealed the cartel to the European Commission.
It was the first time the European Commission imposed collusion fines on holding back the use of technical developments, not a more traditional practice like price fixing.
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that even though the companies had the technology to cut harmful emissions beyond legal limits, they resisted competition and denied consumers the chance to buy less polluting cars.
“Manufacturers deliberately avoided to compete on cleaning better than what was required by EU emission standards. And they did so despite the relevant technology being available,” Vestager said. That made their practice illegal, she said.
According to Vestager, the companies agreed on the size of onboard tanks containing a urea solution known as AdBlue that is injected into the exhaust stream to limit pollution from diesel engines, and also on the driving ranges that could be expected before the tank needed refilling. A bigger tank would enable more pollution reduction.