European carmakers are facing another diesel emissions scandal, but this one has nothing to do with it Dieselgate. Reuters reports European Commission he punished BMW and Volkswagen have a total of 875 million euros (just over a billion dollars) due to an alleged deal in a way that limits the technology to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel engines. The two, along with whistleblower Daimler, reportedly agreed to avoid competition in AdBlue urea injection technology to reduce emissions in discussions between 2009 and 2014.
BMW, Daimler and VW reached an agreement on AdBlue tank sizes, ranges and average consumption, and even shared “sensitive” technical details with each other, the Commission argued. That allegedly stopped the competition and stopped the trio from realizing the “full potential” of their technology for reducing emissions. They may have cleaned diesel fuel outside of EU requirements, but they have clearly decided not to do so.
All three agreed to settle the case. Daimler faced a fine of 727 million euros ($ 861.5 million) for not disclosing its behavior. VW also received a mildness for the level of cooperation.
Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager noted that this is a new case – it is the first time that the regulator has established that a secret technical development agreement has produced an illegal cartel. To that end, officials offered guidelines on cooperation that would not conflict with antitrust rules, such as the development of a single AdBlue software system.
However, this pioneering conclusion could create problems. VW said in statement to consider a possible appeal against a fine for allegedly setting a dangerous precedent in unknown territory. The carmaker also claimed that the essence of the discussion was “never implemented” and that customers never suffered as a result. It’s not certain VW would succeed with an appeal, but the fight could be far from over.
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