The European Union has fined four major German car manufacturers $1 billion because they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission control systems
BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday handed down $1 billion in fines to four major German car manufacturers, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission control systems.
Daimler wasn’t fined after it revealed the cartel to the European Commission.
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that even though the companies had the technology to cut cut harmful emissions beyond legal limits, they avoided to compete and denied consumers the chance to buy less polluting cars.
“Factories compete with one another also when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from the cars,” Vestager said. “Manufacturers deliberately avoided to compete on cleaning better than what was required by EU emission standards. And they did so despite the relevant technology being available.” It made their practice illegal, Vestager said.
The scandal cost Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and civil settlements and led to the recall of millions of vehicles.
It was the first time the European Commission imposed collusion fines on holding back the use of technical developments, not a more traditional practice like price fixing.