BMW HQ raided over allegations of emissions collusion with rival German brands

20 Oct, 2017 4:30pm Martin Saarinen

BMW confirms its offices were raided by EU antitrust officials but denies any wrongdoing

BMW has confirmed its Munich headquarters were raided by officials from the European Commission's antitrust arm over allegations that the carmaker colluded with rivals the Volkswagen Group and Mercedes-Benz over vehicle emissions. 

The raid took place on 16 October, according to the Commission, with BMW confirming it is "assisting the European Commision in its work." The Munich-based carmaker pointed out that "the European Commission has not opened formal proceedings against the BMW Group." 

Earlier this year, the German newspaper Der Spiegel said BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi met to discuss AdBlue tanks, which deliver the urea that purifies diesel emissions in many diesel cars. The report alleged that the companies decided to avoid expensive larger tanks and instead fit smaller ones that aren't able to clean exhaust gases sufficiently.

In a statement issued earlier this July, BMW said: “BMW vehicles are not manipulated and comply with respective legal requirements”, adding, “The BMW Group categorically rejects accusations that Euro 6 vehicles sold by the company do not provide adequate exhaust gas treatment due to AdBlue tanks that are too small.”

The report said that collusion had been happening since the 1990s and involved over 200 employees in 60 working groups.

Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: everything you need to know

The firm says that its Euro 6 cars employ a NOx-storage catalytic converter alongside AdBlue injection, which means that it can reduce emissions using less AdBlue. Thus, the size of the AdBlue tank is dictated by requirements, and not by an agreement between manufacturers.

BMW currently sees no reason to issue a voluntary recall for diesel cars fitted with Euro 6 compliant engines, but the firm has committed to an optional software upgrade for Euro 5 diesel cars at no cost to customers.

What is Adblue?

Convertible roofs and part suppliers were apparently also discussed by the German manufacturers. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office is investigating the matter, and previously looked at six companies last year regarding collusion on steel prices.

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