BMW AG said it’s likely to take a charge exceeding 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) related to the European Union’s investigation into German automakers allegedly colluding to delay the rollout of cleaner-emission cars.
The provision will drag on first-quarter financial results and reduce automotive profit margin this year to as low as 4.5 percent، according to a Friday statement. BMW said it’s contesting the allegations “with all legal means،” but that it’s probable the European Commission will issue a significant fine.
The EU announced in September it had opened a probe into BMW، Volkswagen Group and Daimler AG over suspected collusion that could have delayed clean-emissions technology for cars، and sent the manufacturers a statement of objections earlier Friday.
The commission laid out allegations that the automakers participated in a cartel to limit or delay two types of technology for diesel and gasoline cars. Companies can contest the charges before the EU makes a final decision، which usually brings heavy fines.
“European consumers may have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology،” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. While companies can cooperate to develop better cars، EU rules “do not allow them to collude on exactly the opposite: not to improve their products.”