Germany’s three largest carmakers secretly agreed to equip their vehicles with inferior emissions equipment, European authorities said Friday, a finding that could expose Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW to a large share of the blame for poor air quality in Europe that is believed to cause thousands of deaths annually.
The preliminary decision by the European Commission escalates a scandal that began in 2015 when Volkswagen confessed that it had equipped millions of vehicles in Europe and the United States with software designed to dupe emissions testers. If the finding published Friday is confirmed, the carmakers could face billions of euros in fines.
The latest accusation against the carmakers is, in many ways, even broader than Volkswagen’s cheating. The commission said that for most of a decade, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW had agreed not to compete on key components of their pollution controls, violating antitrust laws and contributing to bad air quality in traffic-clogged cities like London and Paris.
Instead, the carmakers colluded to restrict the size of tanks used to hold a fluid that cleanses diesel emissions, the commission said, while delaying deployment of filters that remove cancer-causing particles from the exhaust of gasoline engines.
“As a result,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement, “European consumers may have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology.”
BMW said in a statement late Friday that, although it would contest the allegations, it expected them to result in a “significant fine.” The company said it would set aside 1 billion euros, or .1 billion, to cover any penalties. It said that discussions among the carmakers “did not involve any ‘secret agreements’ and did not intend any detriment to customers or suppliers.”
Volkswagen noted that it and the other manufacturers “are not charged with any other misconduct such as price fixing.” It said the latest accusations were not related to the use of illegal emissions-cheating software.
Daimler said it expected to be exempt from fines because it had cooperated with the investigation. European Union rules reward the first company that reports antitrust misconduct.
The alleged collusion, the subject of media reports since 2017, evidently allowed the companies to save money. But if so, the strategy backfired badly, feeding a popular backlash that has proved costly for the carmakers.
News reports about Volkswagen’s cheating, and later about the alleged collusion, raised public awareness about the degree to which nearly all European carmakers evaded emissions standards in one way or another.
“Dieselgate destroyed the reputation of the German carmakers,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen who follows the auto industry. “They shot themselves in the foot.”
The debate that followed called attention to the dire health effects of diesel exhaust, and led to restrictions on diesel vehicles in cities including Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Cologne. In Europe, nearly 400,000 people a year die prematurely because of poor air quality, according to the European Union.
Sales of diesel vehicles, a key source of profits for the German carmakers, plunged because drivers feared they would not be allowed to drive into urban areas. There was resentment over the deceit as well, and resale values of diesel cars fell.
In addition, the European Union tightened its pollution standards for passenger cars and introduced stricter testing. The German carmakers struggled to adapt to the new rules when they went into effect last year, leading to major delays in delivering new cars and lost sales.
Germany’s economic growth sputtered at the end of last year, dragged down by the problems of the all-important auto industry.
The alleged collusion by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW occurred from 2006 to 2014 during meetings of the “circles of five,” groups of managers and engineers who also came from Audi and Porsche, which are units of Volkswagen. Ford of Europe, based in Cologne, and Opel, then a unit of General Motors, were not invited.
The existence of the circles of five was no secret. Managers of companies are allowed to meet and consider technical standards, which can lead to cheaper prices for consumers if it eliminates duplication.
For example, the companies cooperated on development of crash-test dummies, which saved money without hurting quality. They also discussed safety issues such as the maximum speed at which a convertible top would be allowed to open, or the top speed for using cruise control.
But companies are not allowed to exploit such technical consultations as a way to quash competition that might produce better products for consumers and society.
“Companies can cooperate in many ways to improve the quality of their products,” Ms. Vestager said. “However, E.U. competition rules do not allow them to collude on exactly the opposite: not to improve their products, not to compete on quality.”
The European Commission accuses the carmakers of colluding on two key components of emissions technology.
One allegation involves the dominant technology for treating exhaust from diesel engines, which before the emissions scandal accounted for more than half of new car sales in Europe.
The technology uses a stream of chemical fluid to cleanse nitrogen oxide emissions, which cause smog and are believed to cause lung ailments including asthma and bronchitis.
From 2006 to 2014, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler allegedly agreed to limit the size of the tanks that store the emissions cleansing fluid, the commission said. The size of a tank containing emissions cleansing fluid may seem like a minor point, but it has major implications for car design. A smaller tank would free up space for features that may draw in buyers, such as bigger audio speakers or more trunk space.
The commission also found that the carmakers had agreed to ration use of the fluid, leading to higher emissions. (The fluid is sold commercially as AdBlue.)
The second allegation focuses on filters in the exhaust systems of gasoline motors that remove microscopic soot particles, a cause of lung cancer. Such filters have long been mandatory in diesel cars. But from 2009 to 2014, the carmakers agreed among themselves to delay developing filters for gasoline engines, the commission said.
BMW responded to the commission’s finding on Friday with some excuses.
The carmakers had teamed up to develop the emissions technology — so their cooperation was pivotal in cutting pollution, it said. The company also said it had adjusted and installed larger tanks for the emissions cleansing fluid when it became clear that the existing tanks were inadequate. Regarding filters, BMW said the technology for gasoline engines was not perfected and that was the reason for the delay. The filter available at the time hurt engine performance and fuel consumption, BMW said in its statement.
The next step in the inquiry is for the commission to review all the automakers’ responses. It could impose fines of up to 10 percent of each company’s annual worldwide sales — which would amount to as much as billion for BMW and billion for Volkswagen. It is very unlikely that the authorities would impose the maximum fines, Mr. Dudenhöffer said.
Mr. Dudenhöffer said he thought the carmakers had acted more out of stupidity than evil intent.
“Engineers are happy when they get to build a motor,” he said. “They never thought that much about legal consequences.”B:
全球最快报码室开奖结果【原】【本】【坐】【在】【地】【上】【嗷】【嗷】【飙】【泪】，【哭】【得】【十】【分】【投】【入】【的】【小】【机】【灵】【鬼】【一】【听】【到】“【医】【院】”【这】【个】【词】，【立】【刻】【一】【骨】【碌】【从】【地】【上】【爬】【起】【来】：“【不】【去】【医】【院】！” 【五】【六】【岁】【的】【男】【孩】【子】【声】【音】【明】【明】【还】【带】【着】【牛】【奶】【泡】【泡】【般】【的】【软】【糯】，【态】【度】【却】【十】【分】【决】【绝】：“【我】【很】【好】，【不】【用】【去】【医】【院】！” 【说】【着】，【小】【家】【伙】【便】【蹦】【蹦】【跳】【跳】【地】【往】【前】【走】【去】，【那】【姿】【势】，【那】【活】【泼】【劲】【儿】，【就】【跟】【刚】【才】【嚎】【啕】【大】【哭】【的】【不】【是】
“【简】【称】D.A，【同】【时】【也】【是】【防】【御】【协】【会】【的】【意】【思】。”【秋】·【张】【注】【视】【着】【哈】【利】，【希】【望】【得】【到】【他】【的】【肯】【定】。 “【噢】，【不】【错】。”【哈】【利】【看】【了】【她】【一】【眼】，【又】【迅】【速】【转】【过】【视】【线】，“【谁】【也】【不】【知】【道】【我】【们】【在】【说】【什】【么】【了】。” “【要】【是】【大】【家】【都】【没】【异】【议】，【那】【就】【这】【样】。”【赫】【敏】【接】【回】【主】【持】【权】，“【我】【们】【还】【要】【考】【虑】【多】【长】【时】【间】【聚】【会】【一】【次】，【在】【什】【么】【地】【方】。” “【最】【好】【找】【一】【个】【没】【有】
【要】【从】【五】【十】【顶】【帽】【子】【当】【中】【找】【出】【苍】【吾】【石】，【谈】【何】【容】【易】！ 【怎】【么】【找】，【一】【顶】【一】【顶】【翻】【么】？【谁】【敢】【当】【这】【是】【常】【服】【店】【里】【买】【东】【西】，【任】【挑】【任】【选】？ 【曲】【云】【河】【就】【差】【掰】【着】【手】【指】【给】【他】【算】【难】【度】：“【王】【冕】【常】【以】【华】【贵】【宝】【石】【妆】【点】，【一】【顶】【上】【恐】【怕】【不】【止】【二】【三】【颗】。” 【燕】【三】【郎】【却】【没】【被】【他】【吓】【倒】：“【方】【才】【你】【也】【说】【了】，【苍】【吾】【石】【缀】【在】【百】【年】【前】【的】【冠】【冕】【上】，【这】【样】【范】【围】【就】【缩】【小】【一】【些】。【并】【且】全球最快报码室开奖结果“【好】【了】【啦】，【宝】【贝】，【我】【们】【回】【去】【了】，【回】【去】【了】。”【齐】【骁】【带】【着】【南】【絮】【来】【到】【了】【酒】【店】【的】【门】【口】，“【我】【去】【开】【车】，【你】【在】【这】【里】【等】【我】【一】【下】，【我】【很】【快】【就】【来】【了】。” “【好】【的】，【你】【快】【去】【吧】。”【南】【絮】【笑】【着】【说】【着】，【催】【着】【齐】【骁】【去】【开】【车】【吧】。 【就】【在】【这】【个】【时】【候】，【南】【絮】【听】【到】【身】【后】【有】【声】【音】，【一】【堆】【人】【都】【出】【来】【了】，【其】【中】【一】【个】【女】【的】【很】【是】【亮】【眼】。 【那】【就】【是】【熟】【悉】【的】【南】【秀】【平】，“【哟】
PS：【章】【节】【防】【盗】，【明】【早】【更】【正】………………………………………… 【也】【仅】【仅】【只】【差】【那】【儿】【几】【寸】【远】，【总】【算】【是】【有】【惊】【无】【险】【地】【死】【里】【逃】【生】【了】。 【不】【过】，【以】【司】【马】【懿】【的】【年】【纪】，【受】【了】【如】【此】【重】【的】【伤】，【还】【要】【一】【路】【颠】【沛】【流】【离】，【能】【不】【能】【撑】【得】【下】【去】【还】【真】【是】【一】【个】【比】【较】【大】【的】【问】【题】，【所】【以】【曹】【亮】【一】【直】【滞】【留】【在】【河】【东】，【还】【有】【一】【个】【最】【为】【重】【要】【的】【原】【因】，【就】【是】【河】【东】【近】【洛】【阳】，【留】
“【快】，【这】【边】！” “【定】【位】【上】【显】【示】【的】【就】【是】【这】【里】！” “【狗】【日】【的】，【肯】【定】【是】【哪】【个】【工】【会】【里】【的】【家】【伙】【运】【气】【好】，【提】【前】【知】【道】【了】【那】【玩】【意】【儿】【出】【土】【的】【地】【点】，【把】【周】【围】【的】【信】【号】【都】【给】【屏】【蔽】【掉】【了】！” “【我】【特】【么】【之】【前】【怎】【么】【就】【没】【有】【想】【到】，【这】【玩】【意】【儿】【会】【在】【桃】【花】【岛】【上】【呢】！” 【众】【人】【都】【在】【暗】【自】【埋】【怨】【自】【己】，【亦】【或】【是】【同】【伴】。 “【这】【不】【废】【话】【嘛】，【桃】【花】【岛】【在】【原】【著】【中】