German car industry under EU cartel investigation


German car industry under EU cartel investigation

The EU has opened an investigation into claims that Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen colluded on software manipulation in secret diesel meetings

The diesel scandal surrounding Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen has taken a further twist with news that the EU has opened an investigation into claims the five German car makers worked together to set standards and collaborate on software manipulation methods for diesel engine development in secret meetings, including one Autocar understands took place on the sidelines of the 2010 Paris motor show.

Acting on evidence provided by a former Volkswagen employee, the EU has opened the cartel investigation following claims that up to 200 employees from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen were involved in the secret closed-door meetings. During these meetings, the German car makers are said to have swapped vital information on methods to circumnavigate test procedures for CO2 and particulate emissions as well as SCR (selective catalytic reduction) thermo switching, among other manipulations.

Said to have taken place since the 1990s, the talks are also claimed to have involved a consensus on the size of AdBlue urea tanks, with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen all agreeing to keep the tanks under a certain capacity to aid packaging compared with other car makers’ diesel systems.

The decision to limit the size of AdBlue tanks, which are used to inject urea in exhaust after treatment systems to lower tailpipe emissions, is said to be behind moves first introduced by the German car makers towards so-called thermo switching, in which the SCR (selective catalytic reduction) tank is switched off both below and above certain temperatures to ensure the AdBlue mixture is not depleted, albeit at the expense of CO2 and particulate emissions.

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Source:: Autocar