BMW and VW Pay Nearly $1 Billion Fine for Colluding against Eco-Friendly Vehicles

1 year ago Kelvin Braden Comments Off on BMW and VW Pay Nearly $1 Billion Fine for Colluding against Eco-Friendly Vehicles

As if the Dieselgate scandal wasn’t enough for them, a report from the European Commission has alleged that German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler colluded on delaying technology for reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions cleaning. 

According to the Commission, the three carmakers violated European Union antitrust rules when they conspired to hinder the development of cleaner, better emissions technology. Five manufacturers are involved in the conspiracy: BMW, Daimler, the VW Group’s Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi. 

These carmakers have the technology needed to bring down dangerous emissions levels in accordance with the EU’s legal requirements. However, the carmakers did not compete to exploit the technology’s full potential, which slowed down its deployment.

Additionally, the five manufacturers allegedly had secret meetings where they discussed issues such as diesel vehicle exhaust gas purification, suppliers, costs, and technology. 

News about the cartel first surfaced in July 2017 after Der Spiegel came out with a report that also implied diesel emissions collusion has been happening since the 1990s.

European Union authorities investigated the allegations and looked for evidence in the carmakers’ officers that they raided.

In October 2017, Daimler decided to go to the authorities and play whistleblower. 


In 2019, the five carmakers were formally charged with collusion. As per investigations, the emissions collusion allegedly happened between June 2009 and October 2014. Two years later, in 2021, the EU finally imposed fines on the carmakers.

The 2006 Guidelines on fines of the Commission served as the basis for the fines while the level of fines was decided according to:

  • Gravity and type of infringement
  • 2013 sales of each carmaker for diesel vehicles with SCR-systems
  • Geographic scope

However, since the case involves the first cartel prohibition decision that’s founded primarily on technical development restriction instead of price fixing, customer allocation, or market sharing, authorities decided to reduce the fines for the carmakers by at least 20%. 

The Volkswagen Group is expected to pay $595 million (approximately £490 million) while authorities fined BMW $442 million (around £364 million). Daimler, though, escaped the $727 million fine (a little over £598 million) because it revealed the existence of the cartel.

What the five carmakers did is a separate incident from the diesel emissions scandal that first happened in September 2015. 

The Dieselgate scandal

The Volkswagen Group received a Notice of Violation from the California Air Resources Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating emissions regulations by installing defeat devices in Audi and VW diesel vehicles sold in the American market.

A defeat device automatically and illegally reduces emissions levels when it senses that a vehicle is in regulatory testing. The device keeps emissions within the levels mandated by the World Health Organization (WHO) so that the vehicle would appear fuel-efficient, clean, and environment-friendly.

However, once it is driven in real-world driving conditions, the vehicle is anything but emissions-compliant. Instead, it releases excessive amounts of NOx, a highly reactive group of gases that has devastating effects on human health and the environment. In reality, the vehicle is a pollutant. It does not follow emissions regulations and endangers the life of the car owner and the people around them.

Volkswagen has been paying fines, legal fees, and compensation while also recalling affected vehicles for years. 

The diesel emissions scandal involves other carmakers, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW. 

The BMW emissions scandal was uncovered only in 2018, three years after the VW scam. US authorities were the first to file a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker for the presence of defeat devices in their M550d and 750d diesel vehicle models. 

Additionally, around 11,000 BMW luxury models were ordered for recall by the KBA (The Federal Motor Transport Authority) in March 2018. This occurred after BMW admitted that their diesel cars released higher levels of dangerous emissions when driving on real roads than when inside the laboratory for testing.

Nitrogen oxide: the dangerous emissions

Nitrogen oxide has nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide and can form acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone, which has negative effects on vegetation. 

NOx emissions are triggers for depression and anxiety. It can also weaken cognitive function, which makes a person vulnerable to dementia.

Most of all, exposure to NOx emissions can raise the risk of developing the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Asphyxiation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Fluid formation in the lungs
  • Laryngospasm 
  • Premature death

Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, and all the other carmakers involved in the diesel emissions scandal should be held responsible for potentially lying to customers and exposing car owners to life-threatening impacts. If your vehicle is affected, you should bring forward an emissions claim against your carmaker.

How do I make my diesel claim?

Talking to an emissions expert is the best thing you can do if you want to increase the chances of your claim being a success. However, you can only start your diesel claim after verifying your eligibility. You can do this by visiting, where you’ll find all the information you need to start your BMW emissions claim.