The EU has Imposed $1 Billion Fines on Four German Car Manufacturers for Colluding on Emissions

The European Union fined four major German automakers $1 billion on Thursday, alleging that they conspired to stifle the development and deployment of vehicle emission control systems.

According to the European Commission, Daimler, BMW, VW, Audi, and Porsche avoided competing on technology to reduce emissions from gasoline and diesel passenger cars. After reporting the cartel to the European Commission, Daimler was not penalized.

Even though the businesses have the capability to reduce harmful emissions beyond legal limits, EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said they refused to compete, denying consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting automobiles.

When it comes to decreasing carbon emissions from automobiles, factories compete with one another as well. Manufacturers purposefully avoided competing on cleaning standards that were superior to those required by EU emission requirements. They did so despite the fact that the requisite technology was accessible, which rendered their activity illegal.

The case was not directly related to Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” scandal from the previous decade, in which the company admitted that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with deceptive software that reduced nitrogen oxide emissions when the cars were placed on a test machine but allowed higher emissions and improved engine performance when the cars were driven normally.

Volkswagen, situated in Wolfsburg, Germany, was fined 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and civil settlements as a result of the scandal, which resulted in the recall of millions of vehicles.

It was the first time the European Commission issued sanctions for collusion on the basis of delaying the deployment of technological improvements rather than a more typical activity such as price-fixing.

Photo Credit: https://techxplore.com/news/2020-01-german-auto-output-year-industry.html