BMW denies collusion with other vehicle manufacturers to cheat on emissions

If EU officials ultimately find that the carmakers broke competition law, they could fine them billions of euros.

In its statement Sunday, BMW said that discussions with the other carmakers had been about how to ensure that customers would be able to buy refills of a chemical needed for pollution equipment in diesel vehicles.

A committee will be set up to measure the impact of updating diesel cars on individual communies and cities, with a view to averting bans of diesel engined cars, the sources said.

The German cartel office has declined to comment.

The report claims that representatives of VW, BMW, Audi and Porsche met regularly and even agreed on fitting their cars with small tanks for AdBlue, a type of solution that reduces the amount of nitrogen in exhaust fumes, instead of more costly large AdBlue tanks.

But the German brand has been accused of using a loophole allowing carmakers to exceed maximum emissions levels in some circumstances in order to protect engine hardware.

On Friday, July 21, the European antitrust authorities said that they were looking into the allegations that these German vehicle makers together were trying to hold down the prices of crucial technology, including emissions equipment.

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The magazine said that Volkswagen and Daimler had reported the existence of the cartel out of fear that they would have been discovered anyway - companies voluntarily presenting the European Union with evidence of a cartel may receive friendlier treatment than the companies partaking in the cartel who tried to keep it a secret.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported Friday that the carmakers agreed in 2006 to limit the size of the tanks used to hold AdBlue to save space in the auto that could be used for sound systems or other features.

"It is premature at this stage to speculate further", the commission said. Diesels emit less carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, but emit more nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that harms people's health.

A few days ago we learnt that Mercedes is recalling three million cars to "fix" emissions with new software, and now Audi are going down the same route.

Meanwhile, VW subsidiary Audi on Friday recalled up to 850,000 cars fitted with its diesel engines for a similar software update. Audi is aware that the investigations by the KBA have not yet been concluded.

However, BMW said it would recall vehicles for a "voluntary software upgrade of suitable Euro 5 diesel passenger cars".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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