Audi to Modify Up to 850000 Diesel Vehicles as Carmakers Face Backlash

Reuters, citing German publication Der Spiegel, reports that VW, BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz may have violated competition rules by discussing vehicle technology in industry groups for almost 20 years.

During these encounters, the German auto makers are said to have swapped vital information on methods to circumnavigate test procedures for Carbon dioxide and particulate emissions as well as SCR (selective catalytic reduction) thermo switching, among other manipulations.

The European Commission and its German counterpart were tipped off about the possible cartel, the EU competition authority said.

BMW said its latest models were clean, despite a relatively small AdBlue tank, because they combined two types of pollution technology: a system that uses the AdBlue spray and a separate catalytic converter that traps nitrogen oxide molecules.

But the German brand has been accused of using a loophole allowing carmakers to exceed maximum emissions levels in some circumstances in order to protect engine hardware. Larger tanks would have been more expensive, the magazine said. In doing so, Audi has cooperated closely with the authorities and reported to them, in particular the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

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The German cartel office, or Bundeskartellamt, said in a statement Friday that it searched the vehicle companies previous year as part of a probe into a possible steel cartel.

VW has been hit hard during this scandal in markets around the world, starting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency charging the German automaker with cheating on diesel emissions reporting through rigged software in September 2015.

Audi's recall comes days after Mercedes-Benz and Smart maker Daimler issued a voluntary recall for more than three million diesel vehicles in Europe. We are convinced that this program will counteract possible bans on vehicles with diesel engines.

Even as Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche continue to buy back or modify more than half a million diesel cars in the USA, investigations into the German diesel deception are expanding in Europe.

Separately, five German automakers - Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche - past year agreed to recall a total of 630,000 diesel vehicles in Europe after it was found that real-world emissions often exceeded European Union emissions standards.

  • Ronnie Bowen