Huge European fine for German car manufacturers

The big German car manufacturers have been fined by the European Commission: they have indeed limited the integration of a technology that would have allowed their vehicles to further reduce their polluting emissions.

Volkswagen will have to pay 502 million euros, BMW 373 million. As for the Daimler group (Mercedes), its fine was 727 million but the company escapes financial sanction: it is indeed it who denounced the agreement between the major car manufacturers. Under the leniency program, a company that reports illegal cartels is granted immunity.

An agreement on CO2 emissions

From 2009 to 2014, these three industrial groups had technology to reduce harmful emissions beyond what was legally required by European authorities. But ” they avoided competing with each other by not using the full potential of this technology to go beyond the legally prescribed level of purification », Explains Margrethe Vestager, the Commissioner in charge of competition.

In detail, the technology concerned the cleaning of exhaust gases on cars with diesel engines. It was a reservoir that transforms toxic NOx into harmless water and nitrogen, the Commission describes. Representatives of the cartel met regularly to “ discuss the development of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, which eliminates harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from the exhaust gases of diesel-powered cars by injecting urea ».

Credit: European Commission

The Commission investigated this cartel in 2018 and 2019, and thanks to the information provided by Daimler, it was able to establish the responsibilities of each. A file that has nothing to do with the Dieselgate initiated by Volkswagen, but which confirms that German manufacturers have not been clear with the rules aimed at reducing gas emissions.

All parties acknowledged their participation in the agreement and agreed to settle the matter by transaction. A way to settle the accounts and start afresh on a better basis … But the European Union is far from having finished with the car manufacturers: new regulations must be announced on July 14 to reduce CO2 emissions in order to achieve l ‘carbo-neutrality objective in 2050.

Source: Journal du Geek by

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