By Chris Ward, December 12, 2022
If you think most car companies come across as your best friend, then I say unto you, never believe what the marketing or finely tuned press statement says. Always look beyond the carefully constructed public image and question intent and purpose. In BMW’s case, it had no intent or purpose to yield to the UK’s anti-trust regulator for an information request for an ongoing industry investigation. BMW instead opted to take the fine which amounts to an initial £30,000 in addition to a further penalty of £15,000 per day until the requested information is released.
The CMA (Competition And Markets Association) is investigating BMW over collusion in anti-competitive behavior in relation to written-off vehicles and the recycling of old cars. BMW switched to fully transparent mode in March saying it would respond in due course to the CMA’s information request. They did not.
The CMA acknowledged the receipt of superfluous information but revealed that BMW purposely held back key, vital documents. The insinuation is that BMW UK is delaying which usually means executives are engaged in an attempted cover-up.
BMW retorted that the CMA has no power to legally enforce foreign companies to disclose documents that are held outside UK jurisdiction. BMW may soon run out of places to hide as it is currently being encircled by the European Commission which is also investigating BMW over breaching the EU’s cartel rules.
EU anti-trust regulators are busy at the moment investigating other car manufacturers who are similarly engaged in anti-trust conduct. Raids have already been carried out on Stellantis and Renault.