The European Commission opened an investigation into possible collusion between BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler to prevent development on green energy technology, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Germany’s auto industry is still wrestling with the consequences of VW’s 2015 diesel emission deception, as well as a threat of auto tariffs from the U.S. An investigation into collusion adds more pressure to the German company and other European automakers as well.
“These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said in a press statement. “If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less-polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers.”
There is no evidence that the companies coordinated over the use of illegal defeat devices in regulatory testing, according to the commission’s statement. German automakers frequently meet to discuss standards for components, which could be illegal if designed to limit competition.
VW admitted to installing emissions test cheating devices on hundreds of thousands of vehicles. The company lost more than $30 billion in fines, recalls and legal fees across international markets. (RELATED: Another Top Exec Indicted In The Scandal That Has Cost VW More Than $30 Billion)
The U.S. fined the company around $3 billion in April 2017 for cheating emissions tests and violating the Clean Power Plan. The award money has been divvied up between states based on the amount of illegal VW cars registered in each, reports show.
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