The European Commission today accused the German manufacturers of BMW vehicles, Daimler and the Volkswagen group of having agreed between 2006 and 2014 to limit the development of technologies aimed at reducing the emissions of petrol and diesel passenger vehicles.
«Companies can cooperate in many ways to improve the quality of their products. However, the competition rules of the European Union they are not allowed to agree otherwise: not improve their products, not compete in quality », declared in a statement the European Commissioner of Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
Thus, the Danish policy ensured that Brussels suspects that Daimler, BMW and the Volkswagen group, which includes also the brands Audi and Porsche, "Have been able to violate EU competition rules" and that consumers of the community club "have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology".
For this reason, the EC has sent charges to the three companies, which can now defend themselves against the Brussels accusations. According to the Commission's preliminary investigation, the pact between BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen to limit the development and launch of technologies aimed at reducing emissions would have affected new petrol and diesel vehicles for individuals sold in the European Economic Area (EEA) ). Those agreements to limit competition would have been discussed in technical meetings between the manufacturers.
In particular, the Community Executive has doubts about the selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce the harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide in diesel cars, by injecting urea into the exhaust gas flow.
According to the EC, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen coordinated between 2006 and 2014 the doses of urea that they added, the size of the urea tank and the recharge intervals. In that way, would limit the consumption of urea and effectiveness in reducing pollution due to the exhaust gases.
As for gasoline vehicles with direct injection engines, Brussels is concerned about the "Otto" particle filters (OPF) to reduce emissions.
According to the Commission, the three manufacturers coordinated to avoid or "at least delay" the introduction of the MROs in the new gasoline models with direct injection engines between 2009 and 2014.
The community executive stressed that the investigation is limited to an alleged violation of a competition law and has nothing to do with the possibility of not having respected environmental legislation.
In addition, the investigation of this poster is not related to others, including those that have to do with the use of illegal devices to falsify the results of the emission tests, as it happened in the so-called «dieselgate», which also affects Volkswagen. The sending of the statement of objections does not prejudge the final result of the investigation, the EC recalled.