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German brands allegedly shared emission tech: report

Achtung: German manufacturers could be in hot water after allegations of collusion on diesel emissions technologies.

Report says Daimler, BMW, VW Group allegedly colluded on diesel emissions tech

24 Jul 2017

GERMAN publication Der Spiegel has reported that a German manufacturers including Daimler, BMW Group and Volkswagen Group have allegedly been colluding on technology for emissions control in diesel engines since the 1990s.

The report comes less than a week after Daimler and Audi announced they would be extending their diesel engine emissions fix programs to include three million and 850,000 vehicles, respectively.

According to Der Spiegel, the allegation came about from a document submitted by Volkswagen to German authorities in July 2016, which stated that the five German brands – Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche – coordinated research including diesel technology.

The alleged discussions concerned activities related to vehicle technology, strategies, costs, suppliers and diesel emissions controls, and involved more than 200 employees working in areas such as gasoline and diesel motors, brakes, transmissions and auto development.

In bad news for the car-makers, the discussions also allegedly involved the size of tanks for AdBlue fluid for automatic diesels, which is one of the central tenets of the dieselgate scandal.

After the report from the German publication was released, shares of Daimler, BMW Group and VW Group all slid at least three per cent.

The letter was originally sent by Volkswagen as an admission to possibly anti-competitive behaviour, with the manufacturers allegedly working together to fix prices on components and systems.

As for the recalls, Mercedes and Audi have emphasised that they are responding proactively to the diesel problem, with Daimler investing approximately €220 million ($A324m) to remedy pollution levels in almost all European Euro 5 and Euro 6-compliant vehicles.

The Audi software upgrade will affect 850,000 six- and eight-cylinder diesel engines with Euro 5 and Euro 6 compliance, and will also affect VW and Porsche models fitted with the same type of engine.

Audi’s recall does not concern the US and Canadian markets.

Since breaking in September 2015, the dieselgate scandal has cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in fines as well as a huge hit to its reputation, while dragging other VW Group brands such as Audi along with it.

It has also prompted organisations such as the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) to call on the introduction of real-world emissions testing instead of the lab-simulated tests currently in place.

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