German vehicle makers under European Union cartel investigation

Ashley Carr
July 25, 2017

Auto industry executives and German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt are due to discuss diesel pollution at a summit on August 2. Motor vehicles are the country's biggest export, and Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are among Germany's largest employers.

According to Der Spiegel, Volkswagen reported in a filing to German authorities that every major German auto manufacturer has been involved in the agreements-VW, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler. The smaller tanks reduced costs and freed up space in the vehicles, the magazine said.

Der Spiegel also claimed that the manufacturers agreed in 2006 to limit the size of the tanks used to hold a chemical solution (AdBlue) that helps counterbalance diesel emissions emitted by vehicles which meant that the solution did not last the time between two oil changes.

The BMW statement does quietly admit that meetings between engineers took place, saying: 'From a BMW Group perspective, the objective of discussions with other manufacturers concerning AdBlue tanks was the installation of the required tanking infrastructure in Europe'.

Prodded by labour leaders, Volkswagen chair Hans Dieter Poetsch is convening a special supervisory board meeting on Wednesday "given the current situation", Michael Brendel, a spokesperson at the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer, said Monday in an email.

Officials at the European Union's executive Commission said that they and the German competition authority have received information on the matter, which is now being assessed by the Commission.

IMF Maintains Outlook For World Economy But Cuts US, UK View
The UK also saw a lowered forecast "due to economic performance so far in 2017 and because the impact of Brexit remains unclear", Obstfeld said.

"It is premature at this stage to speculate further", the commission said.

Audi has announced plans to begin retrofitting up to 850,000 of its Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel cars sold worldwide in a bid to "maintain the future viability of diesel engines" in the face of increasing calls for regulatory restrictions on high-polluting road vehicles.

The services is been offered in an effort to avoid Audi's cars from being affected by proposed bans of diesel cars from German cities. The cost of the rescue plan amounts to under 2 billion ($2.33 billion) euros for cars in Germany, with the auto industry agreeing to shoulder the expense of about 100 euros per vehicle.

The alleged aim? To suspend competition in everything from vehicle development and engines, to suppliers and diesel emissions systems.

Nearly every diesel model Mercedes-Benz sold in Britain over the past six years is believed to be affected. It was found that the software controlled emission controls were illegally turned off on United States roads in order to improve performance. The company also reached settlements with the USA authorities, agreeing to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty, plus $1.5 billion in a civil lawsuit and another $11 billion to buy back cars and offer compensation.

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