European Union raids automaker BMW in post-Dieselgate cartel case

The EU on Friday said that it had carried out an unannounced inspection at a German auto manufacturer in recent days along with counterparts from the German cartel office.

The inspection is related to Commission concerns that several German vehicle manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

BMW said it was assisting the European Union's executive arm in its work and that the inspection did not mean a formal antitrust investigation had been opened.

Germany's Der Spiegel reported in July that compatriot carmakers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Porsche had colluded since the 1990s, on a wide range of projects ranging from the size of auto tanks to ineffective checks on diesel vehicles.

BMW in July denied any collusion with industry rivals on emissions from its diesel engines, saying none of its models had been "manipulated" or violated industry regulations.

In 2015, Volkswagen was forced to admit it had installed software in millions of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests, which has already cost it tens of billions of euros. It recently fined truck makers who colluded on pricing almost €4 billion.

"The BMW Group wishes to make clear the distinction between potential violations of antitrust law on the one hand and illegal manipulation of exhaust gas treatment on the other hand", the company said.

The investigation began this summer after reports that BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group worked together on technical standards that could have allowed them to set prices.

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