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The top auto manufacturers in Germany — VW, Daimler, and BMW — have been holding "secret" meetings since the 1990s where coordination relating to product pricing, supplier choice, diesel engine emissions management, etc., has been taking place, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Policy & Politics

Der Spiegel: German Auto Manufacturers May Have Been Collaborating On Diesel Emissions Fraud For Decades

The top auto manufacturers in Germany — VW, Daimler, and BMW — have been holding “secret” meetings since the 1990s where coordination relating to product pricing, supplier choice, diesel engine emissions management, etc., has been taking place, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The top auto manufacturers in Germany — VW, Daimler, and BMW — have been holding “secret” meetings since the 1990s where coordination relating to product pricing, supplier choice, diesel engine emissions management, etc., has been taking place, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Some of the joint decisions at these special meetings “of up to 200 employees” may have led directly to the use of “defeat device” software or other strategies meant to defraud regulators, according to reports.

Interestingly, evidence of an illegal agreement between the German auto manufacturers was uncovered by German regulators when they were investigating the possibility that the manufacturers have been fixing the price of steel.

Quartz provides more: “According to Der Spiegel, VW admitted to German authorities that it may have engaged in ‘anti-competitive behavior’ with rivals BMW and Daimler via special committees of up to 200 employees that set prices, agreed on suppliers, and engaged in other forms of coordination.

“Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW declined to comment on the Spiegel report, with the latter two calling it ‘speculation.’

“Germany’s automakers are anxious as a backlash against diesel motors gathers pace. Several European cities — including Stuttgart, the home of Porsche — have called for a ban on diesel cars, which accounted for around 47% of cars sold in Europe’s five biggest markets in the second quarter of this year.”

While the push to ban diesel cars in some cities, like Stuttgart, does exist, I’m actually a bit skeptical that diesel cars will end up being banned at all in any parts of Germany. The auto lobby likely exerts too much influence. Elsewhere, such as in London, the situation may well be quite different — the extreme air pollution problems of London and the lack of much an auto lobby there means that harsh measures such as outright bans of diesel cars are much more likely.

 
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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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