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Pressure on BMW, VW and Daimler are rising : EU's illegal collusion

EU competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager takes the next step in the antitrust proceedings against the German car manufacturers BMW, VW and Daimler. The officials of the Dane, also strives for the successor to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, have now sent to the companies concerned, the files with your objections.

This is an indication that the allegations be considered by the competition authority as a serious. The competition authorities is therefore illegal collusion, and is likely to impose within the next few months, hefty fines in Cartel cases.

When companies form cartels, it is usually to make illegal agreements on prices or to share the market among themselves. In the case of Daimler, BMW and VW, including subsidiaries Audi and Porsche, it's something else. The Commission seems to assume that the agreements between manufacturers aimed at technical progress in the field of exhaust after-treatment to slow down.

Vestager, who is a member of at the European level, the liberal party's family, said on Friday: "companies can work together in many ways to improve the quality of their products." The regulations did not permit, however, to make arrangements to have exactly the opposite effect, namely to improve the products and not the quality in competition with each other. "We have a concern that, in this case this is precisely what happened, and that Daimler, VW, and BMW might have infringed the EU competition rules." Thus, car buyers may have been prevented from buying vehicles with the best technology.

it is not disputed that the engineers of the companies involved in so-called "5-circles" over the years, again and again, and on the Details of the exhaust-gas aftertreatment to be replaced. It's all about Meeting in the period between 2006 and 2014. The question is whether these meetings and agreements were illegal.

EU determined in two areas

The Commission is focusing its investigation on two areas. In the case of Diesel Cars, it goes to the "SCR"technology that reduces the emission of nitrogen oxides. In the opinion of the Commission, the manufacturers have agreed to install small "AdBlue"-Tanks for the amount of urea in their models. The size of the Tanks has a wide influence on the Kingdom and thus on the effectiveness of the exhaust after-treatment. In the case of gasoline Cars with direct injection, the manufacturer, the Commission is presumed to have agreed to delay the introduction of diesel particulate filters for the reduction of pollutant emissions. Manufacturers now have the opportunity to take a look at the files to examine the allegations and to obtain in turn position.

The case is complicated. In fact, BMW is floating, especially in the risk of the Commission of an antitrust fine in the billions assigned. Daimler and VW claim leniency status. According to reports, Daimler has brought the investigation of the cartel case in the first place to roles, as the group has made in the summer of 2014, the competition authorities of agreements between the German manufacturers attention. Volkswagen pulled up and also provided incriminating information to the Brussels officials.

EU competition Commissioner Margrethe vestager photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

BMW has not been from the beginning to the position that the agreements were illegal. After the EU cartel law, the key witness on the case can be expected, with a complete remission of penance. The second key witness can still expect a discount of 30 percent to 50 percent.

The anti-trust case has many points of contact with the diesel scandal, which concerns illegal defeat devices of the exhaust gas after-treatment. Competition Commissioner Vestager stressed that it is only the competitive Dimension of the agreements. Violations of the environmental regulations were a matter for the prosecutors and other authorities. Nevertheless, it would be for BMW to be bitter, when the group would collect a billion penalty, while VW would be the main culprit in the diesel scandal with a discount.

BMW is defending itself against the allegations

BMW is defending itself against the allegations of the Commission in Brussels. It was not just to "secret agreements". "The BMW Group sees in this method, the attempt, the permissible matching of industry positions to regulatory framework with illicit cartel agreements equate to," said the Munich-based group after the announcement of the Commission. BMW explained that in the "5 circles" as small as possible and light "urea tank" of all Parties were sought. However, since that time, no area-wide refill system, have chosen the BMW, ultimately, greater Tanks.

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