The German automotive industry faces hefty fines if recent accusations of illegal collusion are proven true, Guenther Oettinger, the European Union’s commissioner for budget and human resources, said during an interview with the newspaper Bild on August 7.
Fines worth billions of euros are a real possibility, according to Oettinger.
“In the last ten years, the European Union has prosecuted nine antitrust cases in the automotive industry and imposed fines totaling roughly €10 billion (US$11.8 billion). That provides an indication of what sort of ballpark figure we are looking at now,” Oettinger said.
Recent revelations by the newsmagazine Spiegel suggest that that leading German automotive brands, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, colluded illegally since the 1990s.
More than 200 employees of the firms allegedly coordinated their technology, costs and suppliers, thus breaching antitrust and competition laws. According to the report, Daimler made a voluntarily declaration of illicit behavior to competition authorities as early as 2013.
The European Commission is currently investigating the accusations. Oettinger emphasized that the European competition authorities would not grant any special treatment to big name firms. The Commission’s record showed that it was not afraid to impose fines which “hurt and warned firms.”
Full Content: Bild