BMW Mercedes Volkswagen

Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen face fines of up to €1 billion EACH for colluding on reducing the effectiveness of exhaust filtering systems. That’s according to German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

The German carmakers collaborated to reduce the size of AdBlue tanks and agreed not to include filters on petrol engine vehicles to reduce fine particulate matter, the influential German publication said.

European antitrust authorities are planning to impose heavy fines on the carmakers.

AdBlue is a liquid solution of urea and de-ionised water designed to keep harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in check.  It’s injected into the exhaust system to convert NOx into harmless elements before they’re released into the air.

‘Statement of objections’

Following a four-year investigation, the companies involved will receive a formal ‘statement of objections’, detailing the specific complaints and the alleged breaches of EU competition law. The alleged activities date back more than a decade. 

Reuters said that BMW and the European Commission have declined to comment. Daimler and Volkswagen said they are cooperating with authorities.

As a result of their cooperation, Daimler and Volkswagen are likely to face smaller fines. The EU’s ‘leniency policy’ encourages companies to hand over inside evidence, and the first company to do so will not have to pay a fine.

Companies found guilty of breaching EU cartel rules face fines of up 10 percent of their global revenues. Cartels are illegal under EU competition law and the European Commission takes a strong stance against companies found guilty of collusion.