EU Economics

Brussels takes on MERKEL: EU collusion probe could seriously damage German car industry

RELATIONS between Brussels and Berlin could be set to plummet after EU officials confirmed they were investigating alleged market abuse by Germany’s top carmakers.

Brussels is set to look into claims that Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen have been colluding on technology for years amid allegations in German magazine der Spiegel that the manufacturers worked together to disguise the true polluting levels of their vehicles.Acting on evidence provided by a former Volkswagen employee, the EU has opened the cartel investigation following claims that up to 200 employees at the car giants were involved in secret closed-door meetings.

What’s at stake here is nothing less than the credibility… of the whole German car industry

Brigitte Zypries

Those involved in the alleged meetings are said to have swapped vital information on methods to avoid certain test procedures for CO2 and emissions.The European Commission confirmed it was assessing information on the alleged collusion, but added it was “premature at this stage to speculate further”.

In response, German economics minister Brigette Zypries said the allegations and the resulting EU investigation could seriously threaten the country’s car industry.

GETTY             The German car industry was rocked by the VW emissions scandal, which began in 2015

She said: “What’s at stake here is nothing less than the credibility … of the whole German car industry. Without comprehensive clarification, confidence cannot be restored.”She added she was taking the der Spiegel accusations “very seriously” and said all carmakers implicated would be “well advised to fully co-operate with the authorities and ensure transparency”.

Shares in luxury carmaker Daimler, which produces Mercedes vehicles, dived on Friday when the allegations came to light.

GETTY                    Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s economics minister, said she was taking the allegations ‘very seriously’

“The Stuttgart-based firm sold vehicles with higher levels of damaging emissions than allowed for almost a whole decade between 2008 and 2016,” the daily Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.The paper, along with two regional broadcasters, accessed a search warrant from a Stuttgart court allowing prosecutors to raid 11 sites belonging to the carmaker in May.

Investigators believe the world’s largest luxury carmaker used a similar “defeat device” to those deployed by Volkswagen, which in 2015 admitted to manipulating emissions readings on some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.

The carmakers have thus far declined to comment on the allegations.

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2 Comments on "Brussels takes on MERKEL: EU collusion probe could seriously damage German car industry"

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Margeret Robinson

Merkle had some knowledge about this from 2012. It was brought to her attention agsin 2013. In 2014 she said it would be investigated but all was revealed by the usa before any investigation took place, emissions were 4 times that permitted. So much for her environmental obsessions. Enviroment issues important as long as germany can be excemp similar to workers rights in Geece. Rules bent and ignored at will inthe EU

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