Brussels accuses German car manufacturers of the cartel

the "Circle of five", as they are called in the communiqués of the European Commission, is in the viewer of Margrethe Vestager. The European Commissioner for Competition announced Tuesday the opening of a thorough investigation against BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and its two subsidiaries Audi and Porsche.

Otto Filters

These German manufacturers are assumed to have agreed to slow down the development and use of technologies to reduce car emissions: selective catalytic reduction systems for diesel vehicles and "Otto" particulate filters, for essence models.


The in-depth investigation follows the preliminary investigation that started in 2017 and resulted in searches at Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi. It was Daimler who confessed for the first time the existence of this cartel, to take advantage of the leniency and then to receive the European police officer.

The opening of a thorough investigation does not anticipate the end result, according to the formula. But this is a sign that the Commission has tangible elements and it is extremely rare that such a procedure does not lead to sanctions. As far as cartels are concerned, the Commission can impose high fines and not hesitate. In mid-2016, four manufacturers of the & # 39; truck cartel & # 39; a total of 2.9 billion euros in fines. There was already Daimler.


In the middle of the third anniversary of the & Dieselgate & # 39; this new business throws the German car industry back in the spotlight.
"It shows that it continues to put its profits above the law and the interests of the citizens"the NGO Transport & Environment responded. That same Tuesday, it published a study according to which 43 million "dirty" diesel vehicles (of which 8.7 million in France), which produce at least three times more pollution than the standards, would circulate in the EU.

Opening the procedure is one "Usual and purely procedural step", Volkswagen responded, while Daimler indicated that the investigation did not involve a price agreement. " The fact that the Commission is initiating a procedure does not mean that it has established a breach in a definitive manner, but only that it deals first with the case "explained the two builders.

BMW noticed how important it is to do "A clear distinction" between "Possible violations of competition law and targeted manipulation of the pollution control system", explaining not to be accused on this last point. The Commission has examined a possible agreement on circumvention of the probate "Has no evidence that the parties have coordinated their behavior."

Pauline Houédé and Derek Perrotte

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