In a statement today, BMW Group said they have reason to believe that the imposed penalty in the EU antitrust proceedings will be much lower than previously feared. “Based on the progress of the proceedings, BMW AG expects, compared with the statement of objections of 5 April 2019, that the EU Commission will significantly reduce its allegations against BMW AG in terms of content and duration,” the statement said.
The EU commission opened proceedings into the topic of collusion between several German automakers. “The subject matter of the proceedings is whether German automobile manufacturers cooperated in technical working groups to restrict competition in the development and rollout of emission-reduction technologies. The legal conformity of diesel vehicles is not subject of the proceedings. The BMW Group is not and has not been accused of unlawful manipulation of emission control systems,” the statement further stated.
BMW says that “If the allegations are significantly reduced as expected, BMW AG would refrain from taking legal action against the issuance of any fine.” The initial fine was set to 1.4 billion Euros on April 5, 2019. “This revaluation will result in a positive effect on earnings of around €1 billion in the second quarter of 2021,” the statement reads. So that implies a fine of “only” 400 million euros.
It’s important to note that the proceedings were expressly not about allegations of illegal shutdown devices in diesel cars from BMW, as they have already led to fines and compensation payments in billions of euros from the other car manufacturers involved. No such accusation was made against BMW.