Guy Robson, the co-founder of Keller Lenkner UK, discusses Dieselgate and how the incident remains a threat to the automobile sector.
In July this year in July, the European Commission fined the Volkswagen Group (which comprises Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi) and BMW 875 million euros for breaking EU competition law through collusion in a cartel Daimler (Mercedes-Benz's subsidiary company) that was created to block clean emission technology that is used within diesel cars.
Daimler has escaped a large fine of EUR727 million from the European Commission for its part in the cartel to suppress technology by notifying the authorities of the existence.
"Diesel gate," also known as the "Diesel gate" controversy (which involves the use of the defeat device software in diesel vehicles that allows vehicles to pass emissions tests even though they shouldn't have) has resulted in Volkswagen as well as Daimler pay billions of dollars in settlements and fines all over the globe, however, both companies' problems aren't over, because they are still facing serious legal action initiated by consumers from the UK as well as the other European jurisdictions.
The fact that the companies at the core of Diesel gate were also complicit simultaneously in illegal anti-competitive practices that were designed to limit emissions technology, reveals the lengths that car manufacturers were willing to go to secure their market share for diesel-powered vehicles.
It is evident that the manufacturers place their own customer's interests ahead of their own by defying emissions testing rules intended to protect the health of people and the environment, but also that they were also unable to use the most efficient clean emission technology for commercial advantage.
Margrethe Vestager as the European Commission's executive vice-president for competition policy claimed that "the five-car producers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche could cut harmful emissions above what is legally required by EU emissions standards", adding that this decision "is about how legitimate technical cooperation went wrong," when it veered into collusion and "is unconstitutional in the eyes of EU antitrust regulations."
Volkswagen has stated that it's considering appealing the decision, but the timeframe for appealing will soon close. Volkswagen has stated that it is considering appealing the decision.
the company said to Forbes of its opinion that it believes the Commission has been "breaking new ground in the field of law by granting this ruling since it's the first time that it has been charged with prosecuting technical cooperation as a violation of antitrust." The other companies involved such as Audi and Porsche have acknowledged their role in the cartel and accepted a settlement to the Commission.
The fines levied by the Commission in this instance could have been much higher than they were because the Commission took into consideration the unique nature of its instance when deciding on the appropriate amount in fine (it was the very first time that the Commission has issued the fines for technical cooperation and not price-fixing or market sharing).
When asked about the relatively small amount of fines concerning the large turnover of the companies that were involved and the high turnover of the companies involved, the Commission's spokesperson, Ms. It's normal that in the event of an unusual situation, on one side, the criminal behavior is being penalized, but simultaneously acknowledging that it might have been more uncertain whether or not it is illegal."
The Commission discovered that the companies collaborated between 2006 until 2014, at which the companies consciously decided to hold off in the development of better emission technologies that could have been implemented when they had competed with each other.
While we leave aside the legalities of the matter the technology involved could have resulted in lower emissions of diesel from automobiles, which would be directly impacted environmental health and human health. To understand this research has shown that nearly half of deaths related to pollution from vehicles are caused by the emission of diesel as a single instance of the incredibly actual health risks arising from the emissions of diesel vehicles.
While the choices to participate in an emissions cartel and to install the devices to defeat them in vehicles were taken a considerable while ago, understanding the actual nature of the actions of diesel car makers is only now becoming apparent.