(CNN) — EU regulators have accused BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen of breaching antitrust rules by acting together to restrict the development of emissions technology.
The European Commission said Friday that the German automakers had limited the development and roll-out of technology to reduce harmful emissions from diesel and gasoline cars between 2006 and 2014.
Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s top competition official, said in a statement that companies can cooperate to improve their products, but they cannot agree not to compete on quality.
“We are concerned that this is what happened in this case,” she said. “As a result, European consumers may have been denied the opportunity to buy cars with the best available technology.”
The commission said the carmakers would get an opportunity to respond to its preliminary conclusion. EU regulators could fine the companies up to 10% of their annual worldwide sales.
Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler said it has been “cooperating extensively” with the Commission and does not expect to be fined. BMW and Volkswagen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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