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18 Sep, 2018 10:16

EU probes Germany's ‘circle of five’ carmakers over clean emissions technology

EU probes Germany's ‘circle of five’ carmakers over clean emissions technology

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had opened a formal investigation into whether German carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group had colluded to avoid competition in developing clean emission technology.

According to the Commission, which oversees competition policy in the EU, it is looking into whether the automakers agreed not to compete with each other on developing and rolling out systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel cars.

“These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers,” said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

She explained the investigation focused on information that the “circle of five” (BMW, Daimler and VW Group’s Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) have met to discuss technologies to limit harmful exhaust emissions.

Vestager said the Commission is assessing whether the companies colluded to limit the development and roll-out of selective catalytic reduction systems, which reduce nitrogen oxides from diesel car emissions, as well as “Otto” particulate filters that reduce particulate matter emissions from petrol cars.

READ MORE: VW investors seek $11bn in damages over emissions-cheating scandal

The carmakers also discussed other issues, such as common requirements for car parts and testing procedures, the Commission said, adding that it did not have sufficient indications that those discussions were anti-competitive.

Last year, the Commission raided German carmakers’ premises as part of its initial inquiries.

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