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October 24, 2017

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EU antitrust body raids carmakers

European Union antitrust regulators raided German car manufacturers yesterday, days after a similar swoop on the offices of BMW, in a fresh blow to the country’s beleaguered auto industry.

“The inspections are related to commission concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said in a statement.

It did not say which car companies were targeted, which is customary in EU anti-trust proceedings.

However, Volkswagen and Daimler both revealed separately they are under investigation.

Volkswagen said it was also a target of “ongoing antitrust investigations by the EU commission” while Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler confirmed an inspection and said it had “filed a leniency application.”

The raids are linked to a report in Der Spiegel that Volkswagen, Daimler and carmakers Audi, Porsche and BMW secretly worked together from the 1990s on car development, construction and logistics — including how to meet increasingly tough diesel emissions standards.

Both buyers and suppliers of the auto giants suffered from the under-the-table deals, the magazine alleged.

The allegations of antitrust violations are the latest cloud over Germany’s auto industry.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted it had installed software in millions of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests.


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