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Reports Of Automaker Collusion Being Studied By EU, German Regulator

Reports Of Automaker Collusion Being Studied By EU, German Regulator
Information about a possible collusion among German automakers have been reportedly received by the European Commission and the German cartel office and they are now studying the matter, according to a statement released Saturday.
“It is premature at this stage to speculate further,” according to the statement from the commission’s executive arm. “The commission and national competition authorities cooperate closely with each other on such issues in the context of the European Competition Network.”
Collusion on technology for decades may have bene undertaken by the biggest car manufacturers -- Daimler AG, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG, as well as VW’s Audi and Porsche brands, claimed a report in Der Spiegel magazine which was published earlier this week. Despite the controversy there were no comments available by the companies under question.
Based on and citing a document submitted by Volkswagen in July 2016 and referencing another document from Daimler, the magazine had created the report, and following the publication of the report, there was a fall in the shares of BMW, VW and Daimler. As part of a probe into a possible steel cartel, it searched the car companies last year, said the German cartel office, or Bundeskartellamt, in a statement recently. However, saying it can’t comment on ongoing investigations, the agency didn’t elaborate on a possible follow-up probe on car technology.
In order to coordinate activities related to their emissions controls in diesel engines, suppliers and strategy, vehicle technology and costs, the five German car brands met starting in the 1990s following which the coordination of the companies continued, says the Spiegel report. In areas including auto development, gasoline and diesel motors, brakes and transmissions, the discussions involved more than 200 employees in 60 working groups. And at the heart of the emission case is the size of tanks for AdBlue fluid for diesel autos and the talks may have also been involved on this issue, the magazine reported.
Due to the fact that the carmakers have been agreeing on costs for components or technical details such as convertible roofs, therefore Spiegel report concluded that the one of the aims of the collusion was to obstruct competition in the car market.
While shares of Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, declined as much as 3.2 percent and BMW slid 3.4 percent, Volkswagen fell as much as 4.9 percent.
Targeting six carmakers and suppliers, the raid took place exactly a year ago, according to the cartel office. The raid was aided by local police and regional law-enforcement officers and involved 50 employees of the cartel authority, and Der Spiegel said that the follow-up probe was essentially a by-product of that raid.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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