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German Diesel Vehicle Antitrust Case

On August 2, 2017, Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP filed a class action lawsuit against Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen, and related entities, alleging that these German vehicle manufactures engaged in anticompetitive conduct that violates both federal and state antitrust laws and consumer protection statutes. The class action was brought on behalf of purchasers of defendants' new model diesel vehicles from January 1, 2000 to the present in the United States.

The complaint alleges that:

  • Defendants regularly met to coordinate on costs, prices, suppliers, technical development and other competitive aspects regarding everything from brake controls and chassis to electronics and car assembly. Defendants reportedly coordinated on the cleaning tanks (AdBlue tanks) used in diesel emissions systems – tanks that were known to be too small and are now the cause of illegal pollution in cities throughout the world, including in California and the United States.
  • The European Commission (“EC”) Competition authorities in Brussels and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office have confirmed that they are investigating Defendants’ participation in anticompetitive activities. In fact, two of the three ultimate parent companies in the conspiracy – Volkswagen AG (which controls Audi AG and Porsche AG) and Daimler AG – have already (i) admitted to the EC Competition authorities and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office that they coordinated with co-defendants and/or other unnamed co-conspirators on competitive aspects of their businesses, and (ii) been cooperating with the EC Competition authorities in the hopes of obtaining amnesty or leniency for their anticompetitive misconduct.

If you would like to discuss this case with Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, please contact us.

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