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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

BMW insists it has not cheated on emissions

Also downplays allegations of collusion over exhaust technology

BMW says it is not involved in any emissions cheating. Edgar Su / Reuters
BMW says it is not involved in any emissions cheating. Edgar Su / Reuters

The luxury German car maker BMW sought to defuse concerns about possible collusion with other German motor makers by rejecting allegations of cheating on diesel emissions and downplaying talks with rivals as being focused on promoting exhaust-treatment technology in Europe.

With uncertainty clouding the German auto industry, BMW said it has gone further than competitors to ensure its diesel cars meet regulatory guidelines while still performing well on the road. The company says it combines AdBlue fluid to neutralise pollutants as well as a system that stores nitrogen-oxide emissions, adding it sees no reason to recall or upgrade its latest diesel vehicles. The company is offering a voluntary upgrade on older Euro 5 models.

“We compete to provide the best exhaust treatment systems,” the Munich-based car maker said. “Unlike other manufacturers, BMW Group diesel vehicles employ a combination of various components to treat exhaust emissions” and thereby “fulfil all legal emissions requirements and also achieve a very good real-life emissions performance.”

German car makers are under intense scrutiny after a report in Der Spiegel magazine on Friday said BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, including its Audi and Porsche brands, may have colluded for decades on technology, including the size of AdBlue tanks. European Union and German authorities are studying possible collusion among German automakers, according to a statement released Saturday.

BMW said the combined emissions systems means its diesel vehicles use little AdBlue, a urea solution that treats nitrogen oxide, and so does not need a large tank. When more fluid is required, drivers are notified and can easily refill, according to the company. The objective of discussions with other car makers concerned creating an AdBlue tanking infrastructure in Europe, BMW said.

Meanwhile, Daimler chose to avoid “especially problematic” meetings with competitors after revelations of truck cartel in 2011, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Citing a document submitted by Volkswagen in July 2016, Spiegel reported that the five German car brands met starting in the 1990s to coordinate activities related to their vehicle technology, costs, suppliers and strategy as well as emissions controls in diesel engines. The discussions involved more than 200 employees in 60 working groups in areas including auto development, gasoline and diesel motors, brakes and transmissions. Talks may have also involved the size of AdBlue tanks as well as details on retractable roofs for convertibles, the magazine reported.

The German cartel office, or Bundeskartellamt, said on Friday that it searched the car companies last year as part of an inquiry into a possible steel cartel. It did not elaborate on a possible follow-up probe on car technology, saying it cannot comment on ongoing investigations.

According to the cartel office, the raid took place exactly a year ago and targeted six car makers and suppliers. Der Spiegel said that the follow-up investigation was essentially a by-product of that raid, which involved 50 employees of the cartel authority, aided by local police and regional law-enforcement officers.

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