Last July, Der Spiegel published something of a bombshell report, alleging that every major German automaker, including BMW, Audi, VW, Porsche, and Daimler, had been running a secret cartel since the 1990s. Today, it was reported that European Union authorities raided BMW headquarters as part of their investigation into the alleged cartel, according to Reuters.
There have been no antitrust proceedings initiated against any of the carmakers, but allegations were pretty serious. The automakers are accused of conspiring to fix the prices of certain technologies over decades.
EU staff had “conducted an inspection” at BMW’s Munich offices this week, the premium carmaker said in a statement, adding that it is “assisting the European Commission in its work.”
The EU’s Brussels executive said its antitrust officials had swooped unannounced on “a carmaker in Germany” on Monday Oct. 16 in the first confirmed raid related to allegations that several German automakers had engaged in an illegal cartel.
“The BMW Group wishes to make clear the distinction between potential violations of antitrust law on the one hand and illegal manipulation of exhaust gas treatment on the other,” the company said. “The BMW Group has not been accused of the latter.”
BMW might be worse off than some of the other companies allegedly involved, according to Reuters, as Daimler and VW have been cooperating with authorities. Before everything is said and done BMW can probably expect some very, very heavy fines.