EU antitrust regulators say investigating possible German auto cartel

by SpeedLux
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

EU antitrust regulators are investigating accusations of a cartel among a group of German automakers, the European Commission stated on Saturday, a measure that might lead to large fines for the companies.

The Commission and its German equivalent were tipped off about the possible cartel, the EU competition authority stated.

“The European Commission and the Bundeskartellamt have received information on this matter, which is currently being examined by the Commission. It is early at this stage to speculate even more,” the EU executive stated, without providing more information.

German publication Der Spiegel reported on Friday that Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Porsche might have colluded to fix the costs of diesel emissions treatment systems using industry committees.

Sixty industry committees comprised of about 200 employees talked about vehicle advancement, brakes, fuel and diesel engines, clutches and transmissions in addition to exhaust treatment systems, Der Spiegel reported, pointing out a letter sent to cartel authorities.

It said Volkswagen confessed to possible anti-competitive behavior in a letter to cartel officials on July 4. Volkswagen and Daimler refused to talk about Friday.

Companies found guilty of violating EU cartel rules face fines of as much as 10 percent of their international turnover.

The automobile industry has been hit with billion-euro fines on both sides of the Atlantic recently for cartels associated with different parts such as lighting systems, engine coolers and bearings.

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