Volkswagen, BMW & Mercedes Facing Massive Fines Of €1 Billion — Noxious Cartel Caught?

Anti-trust authorities of the European Union are planning to fine German carmakers Volkswagen, BMW & Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) €1 Billion (Rs 78.67 billion) each for colluding together to reduce the effectiveness of exhaust filtering systems, claims a report by German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

According to the German Magazine's report, the trio of Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler are being accused of collaborating together to reduce the size of the Adblue tanks used in their vehicles.

The AdBlue solution is used by the carmakers to keep harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in check. AdBlue is the name used in Germany for the standardized AUS 32 diesel exhaust fluid, which is an aqueous urea solution made with 32.5 per cent urea and 67.5 per cent deionized water. The aqueous urea solution reacts with hot exhaust gases in a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) process that lowers the concentration of various Oxides of Nitrogen in the exhaust emissions that are caused by diesel engines. 

Der Spiegel also claims that the three German automotive giants also agreed not to use filters on their petrol-powered cars that caught fine harmful particulates that vehicles exhaust out from their tailpipes. 

Mercedes last year introduced AdBlue to its Indian lineup when it revealed its first Made In India, for India BS-VI emission norms compliant car in the form of the facelifted S 350 d limousine. When it launched the new car in India, Mercedes stated that the S 350 d would not fire up if it ran out of AdBlue Solution.

Mercedes however, provides a warning system that alerts drivers if the vehicle is running out of the diesel exhaust fluid. Filling up a new Ad Blue tank is as filling up the car with any other fluid and Mercedes provides an extra opening next to the one for the fuel tank which is covered with a blue coloured cap.

Collaboration between the three German automotive giants — BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen — is not a new phenomenon at all. Reuters claims that BMW declined to comment about the cartel accusations. The news agency also stated that Mercedes and Volkswagen are co-operating with authorities with the former even applying for the status of a cooperating witness in the proceedings. The European Union has extremely tough laws on cartels and can fine anyone found guilty of breaching said laws up to 10 per cent of their global revenues.

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Article Published On: Saturday, March 9, 2019, 20:41 [IST]
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