EU investigates whether Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, VW colluded on diesels

July 21, 2017

Many people assume that the upcoming movie about Volkswagen's Dieselgate fiasco will look a lot like Wall Street or The Insider: a tale of corporate greed run amok. 

If European investigators are proven right, though, the film could be more like The Matrix, because the plot is heading deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. 

Today we learned that the European Union has launched a probe of five major German auto brands: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and VW. A former Volkswagen employee says that the companies shared information about diesel technology to ensure that they could all cheat their way through emissions tests. 

The collusion allegedly began in the late 1990s, with employees of all five companies discussing both hardware and software installed on diesel vehicles. The discussions are said to have continued until at least 2010 and involved up to 200 employees in total. 

Complete details of these alleged talks haven't yet been revealed. However, the former VW worker did note that much of the discussion centered on the size of the urea tanks found on diesel vehicles and on software that could disable cars' catalytic reduction systems at certain temperatures. The latter would extend the life of the urea, but would, of course, prevent the systems from filtering out CO2 and other emissions.  

It goes without saying that this is very, very bad news for all five brands and their investors. The investigation of Volkswagen--including Audi, Porsche, and VW--has already uncovered some very unpleasant details, and if these new allegations are true, they'd make matters exponentially worse. Things aren't much better at Mercedes-Benz

How far down the rabbit hole does this thing go? We'll keep you posted. 

Note: for purposes of clarity, "Volkswagen" has been used to refer to the Volkswagen Group parent company, while "VW" has been used to refer to the company's popular mass-market brand of automobiles.

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