The European Union has fined four major German carmakers $1 billion because they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emissions control systems.
BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday fined four major German carmakers $1 billion, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emissions control systems.
Daimler was not fined after disclosing the cartel to the European Commission.
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that even though companies had the technology to cut harmful emissions beyond legal limits, they avoided competing and did not give consumers the opportunity to buy less-polluting cars.
“Factories compete with each other when it comes to reducing carbon emissions from factories,” Vestager said. “Manufacturers deliberately avoided competing on cleanliness better than those required by EU emissions standards. And they did so despite the relevant technology being available.” This made his practice illegal, Vestager said.
The scandal cost Volkswagen based in Wolfsburg, Germany, 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and civil settlements, and millions of vehicles were recalled.
This was the first time the European Commission imposed collusion fines on withdrawing the use of technological developments, not more traditional practices such as pricing.