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racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
9/20/18 11:06 a.m.

As if Big Pharma hasn’t done exactly that?  They make much more money “almost” curing people than if they cured people.

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/20/18 11:38 a.m.

In reply to racerfink :

Whether Pharma behaves better, worse, or the same as Auto given a similar situation isn't relevant. The example of the situation stands.

Fitz
Fitz New Reader
9/20/18 12:51 p.m.

I'm kind of shocked that they were openly discussing that kind of thing. I previously worked at a big company that had industry wide meetings like that to discuss safety and standards since we had some overlap between companies. Before every session people got coached like crazy on what to and not to discuss and new technology was definitely on the do not discuss list.

Also it looks like someone initiated a class action suit in Canada over the same thing:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bertelschmitt/2017/07/27/german-car-cartel-faces-class-action-suit-probably-not-the-last-one/#1f0750ee3d34

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/20/18 12:58 p.m.

In reply to Fitz :

Was that new tech internal to your company, or new tech which was likely already on the radar for multiple organizations? The question here is around something that all companies would likely have had some access to, but which they discussed in order to prevent that tech from becoming more broadly known. "I know it exists, and you know it exists; how 'bout we don't put each other through the trouble of spending the R&D money to compete on that issue and just keep the income we can generate with current tech?"

bcp2011
bcp2011 New Reader
9/20/18 1:00 p.m.
racerfink said:

As if Big Pharma hasn’t done exactly that?  They make much more money “almost” curing people than if they cured people.

As if mankind knows all the answers and we're choosing not to cure cancer or whatever because the pharma companies are just hiding the cures... 

Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
9/20/18 1:59 p.m.
CJ said:

Competitors getting together to secretly collude or conspire regarding anything is illegal. 

ROFL

_
_ Reader
9/20/18 2:04 p.m.

Let this be a lesson to all, that no one should be purchasing anything from companies that collude, connive, Swindle, lie, cheat, steal, pollute, overcharge. I think that about covers it in Germany.

Fitz
Fitz New Reader
9/20/18 2:59 p.m.
Ransom said:

In reply to Fitz :

Was that new tech internal to your company, or new tech which was likely already on the radar for multiple organizations? The question here is around something that all companies would likely have had some access to, but which they discussed in order to prevent that tech from becoming more broadly known. "I know it exists, and you know it exists; how 'bout we don't put each other through the trouble of spending the R&D money to compete on that issue and just keep the income we can generate with current tech?"

We weren't allowed to discuss either unless it was publicly announced information. To be clear this was to prevent even the appearance of potential collusion. I'm just surprised those 3 apparently thought they could hold a conference where they make unilateral decisions that applied to everyone.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/20/18 8:26 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to dean1484 :

Why is it messed up?  Why should it be a burden on the tax payers to make people who sell stuff safe to the population at large?  Granted, the people who buy and consume the product pay for the safety items, but a company should not be able to make stuff that they know harms the general population.  

Besides, the way the auto industry works, there's a HUGE financial incentive to come up with the best system- by that I mean the most effective at the lowest cost.  It's really easy to use the regulations to put the thumb screws to your competitors if you want to.

BTW, GM did decide to stop selling cars in the EU- they sold Opel.  FCA is never going to do that, being a EU company, and who knows what Ford will do.

On that note, I don't understand why someone would choose to not sell cars when others do, and make money doing it.  Some make a lot of money doing it. Be kind of dumb to ignore a huge market like the EU.

By your logic if a company can’t make things that harm the general public, water needs to be illegal.  People drown.  More government oversight and regulation only makes everyone poor just like Venezuela.  The EU will be the next USSR at this rate.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/20/18 8:33 p.m.

There is an even more obvious reason that this entire claim is absurd.  We have been able to build cats that run on natural gas for decades.  They are near zero emissions.  Gas is also plentiful and cheaper than oil (gasoline).  Now we can make electric cars.  That means any vehicle that is not using natural gas (no NoX emissions) or electric power is a conspiracy to destroy humanity.  This is just more government overreach in action to make us all impoverished peasants again.  

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/20/18 9:44 p.m.
nderwater said:
irish44j said:

So wait....Automotive manufacturers agree not to develop something that they're not required to develop under current law, and that's somehow illegal? 

What if they agreed not to implement additional emissions controls and instead cheated to "meet" the regulations?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/bmw-admits-mistake-in-diesel-emissions-scandal/articleshow/64215489.cms
http://www.thedrive.com/news/21480/daimler-to-recall-774000-vehicles-over-alleged-emissions-cheating

That would be a different story. But it's not clear that is what specifically is being accused here. 

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte UltraDork
9/20/18 9:45 p.m.

Collusion  has a synergy all it's own. We don't operate at that level, governments should. Keep your head down and move along to the next pasture .

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 7:10 a.m.
AnthonyGS said:
alfadriver said:

In reply to dean1484 :

Why is it messed up?  Why should it be a burden on the tax payers to make people who sell stuff safe to the population at large?  Granted, the people who buy and consume the product pay for the safety items, but a company should not be able to make stuff that they know harms the general population.  

Besides, the way the auto industry works, there's a HUGE financial incentive to come up with the best system- by that I mean the most effective at the lowest cost.  It's really easy to use the regulations to put the thumb screws to your competitors if you want to.

BTW, GM did decide to stop selling cars in the EU- they sold Opel.  FCA is never going to do that, being a EU company, and who knows what Ford will do.

On that note, I don't understand why someone would choose to not sell cars when others do, and make money doing it.  Some make a lot of money doing it. Be kind of dumb to ignore a huge market like the EU.

By your logic if a company can’t make things that harm the general public, water needs to be illegal.  People drown.  More government oversight and regulation only makes everyone poor just like Venezuela.  The EU will be the next USSR at this rate.

Give me a break, you and I both know that's a pretty piss poor analogy.  Water is REQUIRED to live.  But it also needs to not be polluted- so people can NOT pollute the water- which will harm the general heath of society.  Same goes for air- it's required to live, so you can not harm it.

To compare water that you can drown in with air quality is pretty weak.

BTW, government regulation has done me really well- since highly skilled labor is required to meet it in an economically feasible way. So that claim is BS, too.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 7:13 a.m.
AnthonyGS said:

There is an even more obvious reason that this entire claim is absurd.  We have been able to build cats that run on natural gas for decades.  They are near zero emissions.  Gas is also plentiful and cheaper than oil (gasoline).  Now we can make electric cars.  That means any vehicle that is not using natural gas (no NoX emissions) or electric power is a conspiracy to destroy humanity.  This is just more government overreach in action to make us all impoverished peasants again.  

FWIW, natural gas does produce NOx in internal combustion engines.  Just like hydrogen does.  Gas also makes HC and CO- just less of it.  It's also harder to store and transport vs. a liquid fuel- which is more why you don't see in very much in cars.

 

wae
wae SuperDork
9/21/18 7:18 a.m.

What both amazes and concerns me is that these folks thought they could get together and do this and nobody would ever be the wiser.  That means that they're either very stupid or this happens all the time and they didn't expect to get caught because they usually don't.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
9/21/18 7:39 a.m.
AnthonyGS said:
alfadriver said:

In reply to dean1484 :

Why is it messed up?  Why should it be a burden on the tax payers to make people who sell stuff safe to the population at large?  Granted, the people who buy and consume the product pay for the safety items, but a company should not be able to make stuff that they know harms the general population.  

Besides, the way the auto industry works, there's a HUGE financial incentive to come up with the best system- by that I mean the most effective at the lowest cost.  It's really easy to use the regulations to put the thumb screws to your competitors if you want to.

BTW, GM did decide to stop selling cars in the EU- they sold Opel.  FCA is never going to do that, being a EU company, and who knows what Ford will do.

On that note, I don't understand why someone would choose to not sell cars when others do, and make money doing it.  Some make a lot of money doing it. Be kind of dumb to ignore a huge market like the EU.

By your logic if a company can’t make things that harm the general public, water needs to be illegal.  People drown.  More government oversight and regulation only makes everyone poor just like Venezuela.  The EU will be the next USSR at this rate.

The thing is the illegal part as has been said in this thread is that the companies colluded in private to not develop something. It didn't have to be emissions controls. It could have been anything say a new type of seat padding or a new mechanism for a sunroof.

None of these companies would be in trouble if they had of made this decision by themselves but the fact they talked to other companies about not doing the same is the problem. This is essential price fixing as by talking to other companies and coming to an agreement to not develop something they are preventing competition between companies and thus driving their R&D cost down. If one of these companies had of taken this decision by themselves it would have possibly left them open to being left behind by the competition. 

So once again this has nothing to do with the emissions systems and everything to do with the fact the companies conspired in secret together

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/21/18 8:04 a.m.

To me this is the perfect reason why we need (what some people refer too as) 'Big Government.  Time and again the 'free' market argument falls down when we find companies doing things like this for their own interests over those of the public.  Supposedly a free market without government over site leads to better products for the customer, here again it's the opposite.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/21/18 8:31 a.m.

What is confusing me is whether the companies just discussed ways of getting through emissions standards without resorting to more expensive options, or did something worse.  A simple "Let's pool our resources and find the most cost effective way to meet these emissions targets" sort of discussion doesn't sound very criminal. I could see some sort of case if the discussion had been along the lines of, "OK, our competition is going to be using these devices, but our engineers figured out how to run cleanly without them. So, do we want to pass the savings on to our customers and undercut the other guys, or should we all raise our prices like they're going to be and pocket the extra money?" That would be price fixing, but it also doesn't seem like the complaint.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 8:49 a.m.
MadScientistMatt said:

What is confusing me is whether the companies just discussed ways of getting through emissions standards without resorting to more expensive options, or did something worse.  A simple "Let's pool our resources and find the most cost effective way to meet these emissions targets" sort of discussion doesn't sound very criminal. I could see some sort of case if the discussion had been along the lines of, "OK, our competition is going to be using these devices, but our engineers figured out how to run cleanly without them. So, do we want to pass the savings on to our customers and undercut the other guys, or should we all raise our prices like they're going to be and pocket the extra money?" That would be price fixing, but it also doesn't seem like the complaint.

I'm not sure if I understand your example....

If I come up with a way to reduce emissions at a cheaper price, and we can sell the car at a price that is even with our competitors- then I don't see that as price fixing, I see that as a victory.  Moreso if that cheaper way also enhances something that the customer wants- then I can even charge more for it than the competitor.  Making us even more money.  (and, yes, I have actually done that)

That seems like part of the point of the battle ground of consumers.  Toyota has been doing exactly that for a LONG time, making them the most profitable car company in the world.  The company all of us should be trying to compete against.

The collusion would come in if we made some kind of agreement directly with competitors to do or not do something, and that part is wrong.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 8:51 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

To me this is the perfect reason why we need (what some people refer too as) 'Big Government.  Time and again the 'free' market argument falls down when we find companies doing things like this for their own interests over those of the public.  Supposedly a free market without government over site leads to better products for the customer, here again it's the opposite.

If anyone can come up with an entire industry actually looking out for the consumer or the public at the expense of profits, I'd love to see that one.  There are plenty of examples of the opposite of that- which is why there are laws in the first place.  

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/21/18 8:55 a.m.

What I meant was that it would have been a problem if other companies had raised prices because they were using an expensive device to meet emissions requirements, and Mercedes, BMW, and VW had made some sort of agreement to all raise their prices by the same amount while using cheaper means of meeting the target. Instead of sharing the technology and independently deciding how they'd price it.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 9:02 a.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

Ok, so if a group of companies sit on a technology and equally raise prices vs. a single company doing it on their own.  Makes sense.

Interestingly enough, though, via a company like Bosch, that mechanism is sort of possible- where all of their customers can take advantage of something they develop, and charge for it.  But that's more a supplier development.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 9:51 a.m.

The world must be ending. 

German auto companies colluding to make cars less complicated. I never expected to see this in my lifetime. 

 

Collusion between companies is a bad thing and should be discouraged. Those laws are on the books for a reason. Though, simpler vehicles tempts me to overlook it... wink

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/18 10:27 a.m.

^We don't know if they were actually making the cars simpler. Could've been just a different catalyst material, maybe even one that would let them get rid of the DEF system, who knows?

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
9/21/18 12:12 p.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

Ok, so if a group of companies sit on a technology and equally raise prices vs. a single company doing it on their own.  Makes sense.

That was the only way I could think of this turning into a scandal. I'm still not sure if that is what the companies are actually being charged with, though.

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