Bavaria-based carmaker BMW may have to pay a daily fine of £15,000 for failing to disclose vital information about an industry probe first conducted in 2022. UK anti-trust regulator CMA, or the Competition and Markets Authority, said the luxury vehicle manufacturer has data that is crucial to the ongoing investigation of alleged anti-competitive conduct involving the recycling of depreciating or old vehicles.
For allegedly withholding information against authorities, the CMA fined BMW a total of £30,000 in addition to the £15k daily penalty.
In March last year, the carmaker assured regulators that they would honour the request for information. However, according to CMA, only BMW’s UK unit complied with their request. The rest of the BMW Group did not provide any information and even implied that the probe is not within the regulator’s jurisdiction, particularly because the case involves foreign companies. The CMA did not accept the carmaker’s reasoning and explanation.
Until BMW hands over the requested information, the daily penalty will remain in effect. It will accumulate over time. The anti-trust watchdog can also choose to produce an infringement procedure, especially if the carmaker refuses to cooperate and pay the fine.
The European Commission is currently conducting its investigation into the issue.
BMW was involved in a similar situation around two years ago (2021). According to authorities, along with Daimler (Mercedes’ parent company) and Volkswagen, the carmaker allegedly formed a cartel focused on limiting or delaying cleaner emissions technology.
Diesel emissions scandal
In addition to its involvement in the cartel and the withholding of essential information, BMW has also been implicated in the controversial Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.
It was in September 2015 when news about the Volkswagen Group’s alleged use of illegal defeat devices first broke out. US authorities accused the German carmaker of fitting Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles in the American market with cheat software programmed to artificially lower emissions during regulatory testing.
When a vehicle is brought into the lab, a defeat device immediately senses that it is going to be tested. It immediately brings down emissions so it would match the safe and legal levels mandated by the World Health Organization. However, once used outside laboratory conditions, the vehicle emits considerable amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx), often at 40 times more than the EU and WHO’s limits.
Volkswagen lied to their customers so they could profit. They mis-sold defeat device-equipped vehicles as emissions-compliant. Thus, authorities fined the carmaker and ordered a recall of thousands of affected vehicles.
US authorities next focused their attention on Mercedes-Benz, which received the same notice of violation as Volkswagen. Mercedes also had to pay fines (and continue to do so) and recalled affected vehicles.
BMW came next, with fines and recalls also ordered. The BMW emissions fiasco began in 2017, after Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said they allegedly discovered defeat devices in a BMW diesel vehicle model. The carmaker denied all allegations. Nevertheless, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) did not hesitate to move forward and start a probe into the allegations.
Aside from the profit-hungry carmakers, the Dieselgate scandal’s major problem is emissions, specifically NOx emissions.
The dangers of NOx emissions
NOx or nitrogen oxide is highly reactive. This group of gases (including nitrogen dioxide – NO2 and nitric oxide – NO) will cause nothing but trouble for anyone exposed to it. NOx emissions not only destroy vegetation and the entire environmental landscape but can also pose negative health impacts on human health.
When a person is exposed to NOx emissions for an extended period, various health impacts will set in. In some cases, this starts with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also weaken one’s cognitive abilities, thus increasing the risk of developing dementia (especially Alzheimer’s disease).
Regular exposure can cause asthma, respiratory issues that may develop into COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and pulmonary oedema (fluid fills up the lungs).
If the exposure is high enough, serious health impacts can set in, the most dangerous of which are cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.
These impacts, along with the carmakers’ alleged profit-grabbing deception, are the reasons why authorities believe car owners should not hesitate to bring their carmakers to court. A diesel claim, if successful, will reward the driver with compensation (the amount of which depends on the details of their case).
Should I file my diesel claim, too?
Anybody affected by the diesel emissions scandal has a right to file a claims case against their carmaker. However, as not all vehicles – whether BMW, Volkswagen, or Mercedes, are affected by the defeat devices, it is vital to first determine if you are eligible to receive compensation.
It’s easy; all you have to do is visit Emissions.co.uk and get all the necessary information that can help determine your eligibility. Once you are verified, work with an emissions expert who can help you decide whether to file an individual diesel claim or join a Group Litigation Order (GLO).