Antitrust authorities are in possession of new documents that implicate Volkswagen in a cartel to limit what emissions technology the five big carmakers in Germany would use to comply with regulatory standards in the US.
According to German weekly Der Spiegel, the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn received a new letter from the company offering details that appear to substantiate allegations that VW, Porsche, Audi, Daimler and BMW colluded on technology and suppliers for decades.
The most serious allegation is that the groups secretly agreed to use only small, inexpensive tanks for the liquid solution AdBlue, which neutralises exhaust emissions in diesel vehicles.
The world’s largest car parts supplier Bosch, the private Stuttgart-based technology company, has also been mentioned for the first time since allegations emerged a week ago.
The company is alleged to have helped the carmakers develop a “dosage” strategy to reduce consumption of Adblue.
The parts supplier said on Friday it could not comment on the allegations, adding that it has had “no inquiries relating to it whatsoever from German or European antitrust authorities”.
It added: “All we know about this matter so far is what we have read or heard in the media. We have had no inquiries relating to it whatsoever from German or European antitrust authorities. As we have no details about the matters under investigation, we cannot comment on them.”
VW declined to comment on the allegations.
The European Commission had already confirmed it is probing the carmakers for allegedly colluding on certain technology since the 1990s.
The new evidence, cited by Der Spiegel, includes a letter written by a VW manager on October 19, 2006, after a meeting between Bosch, Daimler, BMW and the VW Group.
“Everyone wants a limit” on the amount of AdBlue to be injected “because of the limited size of the urea tanks,” the manager wrote. “Nobody wants to report the real motivation of this…