The European Commission has fined Volkswagen Group and BMW $1 billion for colluding with Daimler to hold back the development of technology that could have reduced harmful emissions from their vehicles.
In a statement on Thursday, the Commission said the three German carmakers, along with Volkswagen subsidiaries Audi and Porsche, breached EU antitrust rules by agreeing to avoid competing on technical development in the area of nitrogen oxide cleaning.
The charges relate to conduct that took place between 2009 and 2014, when the carmakers held “regular technical meetings” to discuss the development of technology that eliminates harmful nitrogen-oxide emissions from diesel passenger cars, according to the Commission.
“The five car manufacturers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche possessed the technology to reduce harmful emissions beyond what was legally required under EU emission standards. But they avoided to compete on using this technology’s full potential to clean better than what is required by law,” the EU Commission’s top antitrust official, Margrethe Vestager, said in the statement.
“In today’s world, polluting less is an important characteristic of any car. And this cartel aimed at restricting competition on this key competition parameter,” she added.
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