European carmakers are struggling with another diesel emissions scandal, but this has nothing to do with it. Dieselgate. Reuters report the European Commission he made a sanction BMW and Volkswagen totaled 875 million euros (just over $ 1 billion) for alleged collusion in a way that limited the technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines. The two, along with whistleblower Daimler, had allegedly agreed to avoid competing over emission-reducing AdBlue urea injection technology in discussions held between 2009 and 2014.
BMW, Daimler and VW have reached an agreement on the dimensions, ranges and average consumption of AdBlue tanks, and have also shared “sensitive” technical details between them, the Commission said. This would have stopped competition and prevented the trio from realizing the “full potential” of their technology that reduces emissions. They may have cleaned the diesel beyond EU requirements, but apparently they chose not to.
All three agreed to settle the case. Daimler would have been fined 727 million euros ($ 861.5 million) if it had not disclosed the behavior. VW also received clemency for its level of cooperation.
The Commission’s executive vice-president, Margrethe Vestager, remarked that this was a new case – it was the first time the regulator had established that collusion on technical development produced an illegal cartel. To that end, officials have offered guidance on cooperation that would not run into antitrust rules, such as the development of a unified AdBlue software system.
This pioneering conclusion could cause problems, however. VW said in a statement that he was considering a possible appeal against the fine for allegedly setting a dangerous precedent in unknown territory. The automaker also argued that the substance of the discussions was “never implemented” and that customers never suffered as a result. It’s not certain that VW will succeed with an appeal, but the fight could be far from over.
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