Top German carmakers charged with blocking clean emissions technology

Top German carmakers charged with blocking clean emissions technology (Reuters)

  • Two years after the European Commission carried out raids at their premises, BMW, VW, and whistle-blower Daimler all possibly face substantial fines for allegedly colluding to block the rollout of clean emissions technology between 2006 to 2014.
  • According to the EU enforcers, the case is not related to other on-going investigations, but focused on systems that reduce nitrogen oxides from diesel car emissions.
  • BMW said it would contest the allegations “with all legal means if necessary”, VW declined to comment before further examining the EU accusations, and Daimler reiterated it did not expect to be fined as a result of its information.
  • Fines placed by the European Commission can go as high as 10% of a company’s global turnover.

Analysis & Comments

  • Most analysts have no insights as to the rights and wrongs of this case, what is most interesting for us from a theme perspective is the inherent tension created by the increasing environmental regulations.
  • In addition to the rollout of cleaner emissions referred to above, we also have country and city specific regulations, all largely aimed at reducing air pollution.
  • London is the latest city to act, joining a long list across Europe – in some cases following legal action by environmental groups.
  • The London example is fairly typical, targeting petrol cars pre 2006 (Euro 4) and diesel cars pre 2015 (Euro 6). 
  • You should expect these ad hoc measures to continue to get tougher – which creates an interesting dilemma for the automotive companies.

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