The German authorities have started an investigation on some of the biggest automotive firms in the country, with claims of fixing prices for steel.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office revealed that six car makers and automotive suppliers were being part of an investigation into a potential price-fixing scheme over purchasing steel, adding also that their offices have been searched on June 23 to seize some related documents. The authorities’ probe is targeting, among other companies, Volkswagen Group, Daimler, BMW Group and suppliers Bosch and ZF, all of them saying they were fully cooperating. Following such news, General Motors’ Opel division stated that it was not part of the inquiry. “In total, 50 members of staff at the cartel authority took part. They were supported by police and criminal authorities,” a spokesman for the authority said, cited by Reuters, declining however to name all the firms involved.
“We confirm that representatives from the Federal Cartel Office searched the offices in Wolfsburg as part of an ongoing probe. Volkswagen supports the authority with its investigation,” a spokesman for Volkswagen said. Daimler, BMW, ZF and Bosh confirmed they have been raided, with the latter adding that its sites in Zuffenhausen and Gerlingen-Schillerhoehe in Stuttgart have been searched.
Even if this kind of practice is not a new one and it is spread across all sectors of industry, this inquiry adds yet another millstone on Volkswagen’s shoulders, as it tries to recoup its public image following the diesel emissions scandal.