Europe Economy

EU fines BMW, Volkswagen Group for restricting competition in emission cleaning

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Key Points
  • The European Commission said on Thursday three German carmakers breached EU antitrust rules by restricting competition in emission cleaning for new passenger diesel cars.
  • It fined BMW and Volkswagen Group 875 million euros between them.
  • The EU executive said they colluded on technical development in the area of nitrogen oxide cleaning.
Rain clouds are seen over a Volkswagen symbol at the main entrance gate at Volkswagen production plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
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LONDON — The European Commission said on Thursday three German carmakers breached EU antitrust rules by restricting competition in emission cleaning for new passenger diesel cars, and it fined BMW and Volkswagen Group 875 million euros between them.

The EU executive said they colluded on technical development in the area of nitrogen oxide cleaning, but Daimler was not fined because it revealed the existence of the cartel.

"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 European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

"So today's decision is about how legitimate technical cooperation went wrong. And we do not tolerate it when companies collude."