By on October 24, 2017

german flag and reichstag

Following an earlier raid at BMW, Daimler AG and Volkswagen Group were also searched by antitrust officials from the European Union Commission and German government this week. Despite claiming whistleblower status, Daimler is still subject to investigation — though it’s less likely to incur the same financial penalties if the collusion charges go to court.

Over the summer, investigators from the EU stated there would be an investigation into several German carmakers after allegations surfaced that companies conspired to fix prices on various automotive technologies over several decades. But it wasn’t until Monday that officials searched Daimler’s corporate offices and collected documents from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg and at Audi’s home base in Ingolstadt.

The EU Commission has continued to deny the release of specific details on its investigation, only saying it has “concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules prohibiting cartels and restrictive business practices,” according to reports from Reuters. However, spokespeople from both Daimler and Volkswagen have confirmed the searches.

Potential examples of collusion include BMW, Volkswagen Group, and Mercedes-Benz purchasing the digital mapping company HERE and a joint venture to invest in thousands of charging sites across Europe to boost public acceptance of electric cars. Ford Motor Company is also a participant in the the charging network plan.

Distinguishing the difference between reasonable corporate cooperation and activities that violate antitrust laws will be the cornerstone of the European investigation. As of now, no company has been formally charged with any wrongdoing. However, if any are eventually found guilty of breaching EU guidelines, the automakers could face fines equalling 10 percent of their global revenue.

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5 Comments on “European Raids Expand to Daimler and VW in Automotive Cartel Probe...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…the automakers could face fines equalling 10 percent of their global revenue”

    At first I thought that was a big fine, but if this scheme has been going on for decades, such a modest fine shows that crime really does pay.

    • 0 avatar

      For Mercedes (Daimler) that’s 15.3 billion Euros; for Volkswagen 21.7 billion; and for BMW 7.7 billion. In dollars thats $17.7B, $25.6B, and $9.1B. Those are huge hits, even for Volkswagen because of it’s OTHER fines. All that money would come from one country, Germany, and it would lead to layoffs and threat of recession. I’ll bet cooler heads and German financial/political muscle will prevail.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    Corporations routinely flout the law because in almost all cases the financial penalties, if they are ever caught, are minuscule in comparison to the profits to be made. And CEOs know they will never see the inside of a prison cell. That’s an honor reserved for underlings.

  • avatar

    Same story, different country. No different than the US automakers of the past, where one of the Big 3 would announce prices first, followed by the second and third a week or two staggered after that, all coincidentally within a few % of each other, but of course higher than the year before. Wink wink!

  • avatar

    It is sad, but I fear it they have done it.
    I’m looking forward to follow the development of the case…

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