European Union raids BMW in a fresh blow to German auto industry

Daimler have been cooperating under the EU's ant-trust leniency program for whistleblowers and, thus, may escape a heavy fine that the other companies could be liable for, in what has descended into a "rat-out-race."

Volkswagen said it was also a target of "ongoing antitrust investigations by the European Union commission" while Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler confirmed an inspection and said it had "filed a leniency application". On Monday, the automaker said that European Commission officials had started a search of its premises.

The European Commission on Monday confirmed it had sent teams to inspect the premises of unnamed auto manufacturers in Germany, days after it was revealed BMW's Munich headquarters had been raided in an antitrust investigation.

It added that it was assisting the European Commission in its work and that no formal proceedings against BMW had been opened. The EU has said it is evaluating the media reports about collusion as a preliminary step to the possible opening of a full-fledged anti-trust probe.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in September that her officials are checking whether "completely legal cooperation" between German vehicle companies isn't being confused with an illegal cartel.

The statement did not identify the company.

The European Commission has widened its cartel investigation and has revealed that its officials carried out unannounced inspections at auto manufacturer across Germany.

Reuters reported the Daimler visit earlier.

The three carmakers worked together on a wide range of technology including discussing the size of tanks for AdBlue, a liquid that helps neutralize pollutants in diesel exhaust, according to Der Spiegel.



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