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EU Fines Five Car Manufacturers EUR 875 Million For Restricting Competition - Quick Facts

The European Commission On Thursday took a decision to fine five car manufacturers 875 million euros for restricting competition in emission cleaning for new diesel passenger cars.

Daimler, BMW, as well as Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, which are part of the Volkswagen group, were charged by the EU for illegally colluding to restrict competition in the area of emission cleaning technology for diesel cars.

This is the first time that the Commission finds that cooperation on technical elements, as opposed to price fixing or market sharing, amounting to cartel behavior.

All companies acknowledged their participation in the cartel and agreed to settle the case. Daimler disclosed the existence of the cartel to the Commission and was therefore granted full immunity from fines.

The cartel, internally referred to as 'circles of five', developed a technology to reduce the nitrogen oxide emissions of new diesel passenger cars and to bring that technology swiftly to the market, to the benefit of consumers and the environment.

This is how legitimate cooperation went wrong. The carmakers developed together a very good technology but decided not to compete on exploiting it to its full potential. This anti-competitive conduct breached the Commission's competition rules.

Through this conduct, the carmakers eliminated the inherent threat that their competitor would do better. And this threat is a key driver of innovation.

The Commission said competition and innovation in this space are also essential for Europe to meet its ambitious Green Deal objectives. And any attempt to restrict competition to the detriment of innovation will make it more difficult to meet these targets.

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