The Strategist

Shares of German carmakers are nosediving on allegations of collusion

07/25/2017 - 14:19

Shares of leading German automakers, such as BMW, Daimler and VW, are sweepingly becoming cheaper. Because of accusations of cartel collusion, automakers are in danger of receiving fines of billions of euros. The management of Volkswagen has already planned an emergency meeting.

Securities of German carmakers sank about 3% in early trading yesterday. Their losses have become the most serious among the companies that make up the DAX index. Shares of BMW, Daimler and VW are getting cheaper for the second trading session in a row. On the previous Friday, Volkswagen's papers lost almost 5% in price, while Daimler and BMW shares fell in price by 3%.

On this Wednesday, Volkswagen management plans to hold an emergency meeting and discuss further actions in connection with the current situation. This was reported by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the auto concern Hans Dieter Pötsch.

At the end of last week, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that German carmakers VW, BMW, Audi and Porsche may have conspired to set prices for diesel emission cleaning systems using industry committees. It is reported that about 200 employees working in 60 sectoral committees discussed development of vehicles, brakes, gasoline and diesel engines, couplings and transmissions, as well as exhaust gas purification systems. Der Spiegel referred to a letter sent to the cartel authorities.

Volkswagen acknowledged possible anticompetitive behavior in a letter sent to antitrust authorities on July 4. The automakers discussed choice of suppliers and the price of components. Since 2006, automakers have also discussed the cost of AdBlue, an exhaust gas purification system for diesel engines. They also talked about such details as the calibration of reservoirs for diesel processing fluids, and agreed to use smaller rather than larger parts, the publication noted. Daimler also does not deny its guilt.

Through the full confession, Volkswagen and Daimler are hoping to reduce the amount of fines that they may have to pay in connection with accusations of cartel collusion.

The actions of the leading German automakers are now being actively discussed in the political circles of Germany. The chairman of the faction of the CDU / CSU faction in the Bundestag Volker Kauder called on motor-car manufacturers to "do business honestly." "The rights and laws must be respected, including in the auto industry," he said in an interview with the German television channel ARD. The Green Party (Grüne) and representatives of the Left Party (Die Linke) demand the immediate convocation of the Transport Committee of Germany.

"The Minister of Transport should explain what he intends to do in connection with such serious accusations against German automakers," says Herbert Behrens, a transport expert and former head of the Commission for the investigation of the "Dieselgate" scandal, which involved many automakers from West Germany. The head of the German industrial union IG Metall, Jörg Hofmann, called on the industry for greater transparency. "We demand to fully explain to us what has happened," he said in an interview with Der Welt.