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BMW, Daimler and VW Group to be investigated over possible emissions collusion

EU looking into whether car manufacturers worked together to prevent consumers from being able to buy less-polluting cars

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group (VW, Audi and Porsche) are being formally investigated by the European Commission (EC) for potentially agreeing to limit the roll-out of clean-emission technology, it was announced today.

This in-depth investigation, which follows initial inspections conducted by the EC last year, aims to find out whether the five carmakers colluded over the development and deployment of technologies that reduce harmful exhaust emissions from petrol and diesel cars.

If proven, the manufacturers may have prevented consumers from being able to buy cleaner cars. They may also have breached EU antitrust rules, which prohibit cartels and restrictive businesses practices, including agreements to limit or control technical development.

At this stage, the Commission has no indications that the parties co-ordinated with each other in relation to the use of illegal defeat devices to cheat regulatory testing. While the investigation is being conducted as a priority, it is not clear when the EC will reach its conclusion.

Find out which are the cleanest carmarkers, according to our own unique emissions tests.

Clean car-emission technology

The EC is investigating whether the development of the following two clean-emission technologies was restricted following meetings between BMW, Daimer and VW Group:

  • selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, which reduce harmful nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars
  • ‘Otto’ particulate filters (OPF), which reduce harmful particulate matter emissions from petrol cars.

SCR technologies, in particular, are being rolled out by many car manufacturers in Europe to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars. However, the technology is expensive, and raises the development cost for diesel cars.

SCR systems, some of which are marketed under the tradename AdBlue, have become more prevalent in the three years since the VW dieselgate scandal.

If you were affected by this scandal, you have until 26 October to join the claim against VW.

How to buy a lower-emission car

Our expert lab tests are more stringent than official tests, including a motorway test cycle to uncover the level of emissions cars really produce when driven on the road.

We also test cars in their default settings – rather than in any ‘eco’ driving mode – and we don’t tamper with cars to remove excess weight or over-inflate tyres. Our additional test cycles are conducted with the air conditioning on, as well as the lights and radio, to reflect real-world driving.

We go to these lengths to ensure you have the information you need to buy a clean car. We’re taking a stand against high-polluting cars, which is why any car that produces high levels of emissions in our own unique tests can’t be a Best Buy.

See our full list of Best Buy cars.

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