July 9, 2021—The European Union handed down $1 billion in fines to two major German auto manufacturers after it says the companies colluded to limit the progression of emission control systems.
BMW, Volkswagen along with its Audi and Porsche divisions, and Daimler were found by the EU's executive commission to have avoided competing on technology to restrict pollution from gas- and diesel-fueled passenger cars, according to a report from the Associated Press. Daimler wasn't fined after revealing the cartel to the commission.
“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,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said.
That, she said, made their practice illegal.
This is the first instance in which the commission has imposed collusion fines for the deliberate impediment of technical developments as opposed to a more traditional practice such as price fixing.