EU Fines BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group for Collusion on Technical Development

July 22, 2021

EU Fines BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group for Collusion on Technical Development

July 22, 2021

Milan Novakov

Milan Novakov

Senior Associate

Katarina Aškić

Katarina Aškić

Junior Associate

The European Commission (“Commission”) has found that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) breached EU antitrust rules by colluding on technical development in the area of nitrogen oxide cleaning.

BMW, Volkswagen Group and Daimler used the so-called “circle of five” technical meetings to agree to hold back on technological innovations that could reduce harmful emission of nitrogen oxide gases from diesel cars. The companies agreed they would not use the technology at its full potential and that none of them would aim at cleaning above the minimum standard required by EU emissions standards. This illegal agreement among the car manufacturers eliminated the threat that one of them could use better technology to clean the gases than others.

All parties acknowledged their involvement and the Commission has imposed a fine of EUR 875 million. The Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) agreed to pay EUR 502 million, while BMW settled for EUR 372 million. Bearing in mind the scope of the penalty, Volkswagen group stated that they will carefully measure the option of an appeal. On the other hand, Daimler received full immunity because it was the first participant in the cartel to denounce its existence and therefore avoided to pay the fine of EUR 727 million.

This is the first time that the Commission concludes that collusion on technical development amounts to a cartel and this ruling of the Commission might set a precedent for future technological fines in the EU.

 

 

 

Legal Intern, Milan Popović, contributed to this article.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

Contact:

Milan Novakov, Senior Associate
milan.novakov@sog.rs

Katarina Aškić, Junior Associate
katarina.askic@sog.rs

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