Millions may be owed compensation in BMW, Daimler, VW cartel claims

Paterniano Del Favero
Luglio 25, 2017

The commission said it would be "premature to speculate further". At this point, no one's talking, with BMW only issuing a brief statement that reportedly said it's not unusual for automakers to work on some components, so long as they "do not contribute to differentiation of the two brands and are therefore not relevant to competition".

The auto industry has been hit with billion-euro fines on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years for cartels related to various parts such as lighting systems, engine coolers and bearings.

Exane BNP Paribas automotive analyst Stuart Pearson said little was known about the allegations, but no signs had emerged about fixing prices charged to consumers.

In a statement last Saturday, the European Commission partially confirmed a report in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that said the authorities were investigating evidence that representatives of the carmakers met regularly to agree on technical specifications for everything from brakes to clutches to emissions systems. Fines and compensation claims could eclipse the diesel emissions scandal that has cost VW about €25bn (£22bn) worldwide.

Shares in Volkswagen were down 3.3 percent, with premium rivals Daimler and BMW down 2.9 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, underperforming the blue-chip DAX index, which was 0.4 percent lower, and pushing down the Stoxx 600 index.

After Daimler and other truckmakers were accused in 2011 of price fixing and subsequently fined, the German company at least in part pulled out of the industry tie-ups that are now the subject of inquiries, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said. Vehicles which use urea injection with AdBlue (SCR) to treat exhaust emissions also employ a NOx-storage catalytic converter.

Daimler said on Monday it had a substantial compliance programme which was "constantly improved and adapted".

The Bavarian company does say discussions among employees of the companies took place, though "the objective of discussions with other manufacturers concerning AdBlue tanks was the installation of the required tanking infrastructure in Europe", and not cartel dealings. Daimler's works council chief Michael Brecht demanded an immediate investigations into the allegations.

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