German Automakers May Have Colluded in Car Cartel

It looks like the United States Justice Department is probing the possibility that BMW, VW, and Daimler may have worked together to gain a leg up on their primary North American competitors by colluding on pricing, strategy, and technology. There has been no official statement from the Justice Department, and no official investigation has been opened at this time.

This comes on the heels of news from Germany that first alleged the existence of a car cartel operating in secret since the 1990s and included Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche. Conspirators from each company would meet in working groups to discuss auto parts and trade information on everything from brakes to transmissions and the undersized tanks for cleaning fluid in diesel motors—yes, that’s right, one of the problems that led to dirty diesel.

The alleged cartel could fix prices in secret and gain an advantage over foreign automakers and rip-off their own suppliers. There are reports Volkswagen leadership have held secret emergency meetings to discuss the investigation. Dirty diesels and a price-fixing cartel? So much for efficiency, it looks like German automakers might have been cheating their way to the top.