Three giant German automakers, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler have been charged by the European Union (EU) with a colluding attempt to block the release of clean emission technology into the market.
The companies have been issued with 10 weeks ultimatum to react to the anti-trust regulator from EU and may face possible fines which could amount to billions of Euros if their responses are rejected and found guilty of the charges.
Between the periods of 2006 to 2014, there was a big suspicion from the commission as related to the “circle of five” automakers which comprise of Porsche division and Volkswagen Audi, colluded to delay, avoid and limit the Selective Catalytic Reduction systems (SCRs) and Otto particle filters’ rollout.
The main purpose of the SCRs system is to rid diesel car emission of nitrogen dioxides, which as toxic particle is connected to the 71,000 untimely deaths across the surface of Europe in just 2013. This was made known by the EU’s environment agency.
The three German automakers are at risk of paying huge fine worth billions if found guilty
The Otto particle filters on the other hand help in controlling the amount of exhaust gases from gasoline engines in a bid to reduce emission. These have been related to thousands of deaths every year.
This particular announcement comes 2 years after automakers have been raided, following the enquiry by Der Spiegel, accusing the companies of meeting in secret in the 1990s to join hand in response to emission from diesel.
According to Margrette Vestager, the European Union commissioner, said:
Daimler, VW and BMW may have broken EU competition rules. As a result, European consumers may have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology.
A Green MEP, Bas Eickhout, also added that the automakers’ action put a stop on innovation.
According to report, the earlier findings from investigations risk further damaging the reputation of the automotive industry after which there was an admission on the side of Volkswagen, claiming they have been making use of software in its diesel engines to cheat the emission tests carried out in the United States about four years ago. In relation to that, the automotive giant has set aside a large sum of 27.4 billion euros to cater for settlements, fines, buybacks and recalls for the recent scandal.
It is important to know that this probe by the EU is clearly different from other legal procedures filed against the company for allegedly breaking the environment law.
>>> Reviews and prices in Nigeria of Volkswagen products:
According to another German automaker, BMW, engineers have engaged in discussion on how to improve the exhaust gas technology and that the automotive industry was reportedly aware of this development. In its defense, the company said they have never been involved in any secret partnership or joint agreement to bring pain or any form of injury to its customers.
Carmakers accused of anti-technology collusion
Volkswagen also said they are cooperating well with the European Union and are very certain they won’t be fined. It is however believed that anti-trust fine from the EU could be as much as 10% of the company’s overall turnover across the globe.
According to the news that the four automakers were investigated last year by the commission, a lawyer for Client Earth made it known that the evidence of the central role of the industry in the air pollution was building.
It was further said:
Yet, national authorities keep folding under the pressure of the auto lobby and dragging their feet rather than ordering corrective actions," he said. “These latest revelations tell us that the technology has been there for many years to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles, but the industry has been resistant to change. And this is still clearly going on.
We believe with time, the entire truth would be brought out into light.
Stay tuned for update.
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