The European Commission on September 18 announced the launch of an investigation into whether German automakers BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and VW units Audi and Porsche agreed not to compete with each other in developing and introducing technology to lower pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars.

The Commission reportedly received information that the five automakers held meetings to discuss limiting car exhaust emissions at the testing stages.  German newspaper Der Spiegel magazine first published the allegations in 2017.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the Commission’s investigation is focused on diesel emission control systems involving the injection of urea solution into exhausts to remove harmful nitrogen oxides.

The probe is also looking at possible collusion over filters for cars with gasoline engines.

“If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy fewer polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The Commission can fine companies up to 10 percent of their annual turnover if it finds them to be in breach of EU competition rules.