A sprawling proposed class action filed August 1 against BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz alleges the companies have for the past 30 years colluded to “unlawfully, unfairly and deceptively” increase the prices of their German-made luxury vehicles. Summarily, the 30-page complaint, filed by three named plaintiffs, says the below defendants, as well as other yet-to-be-identified co-conspirators, agreed to share commercially sensitive information and enter into agreements with each other when it came to technology, costs, suppliers, markets, emissions gear, and other attributes associated with their cars:
- BMW AG
- BMW of North America, LLC
- Volkswagen AG
- Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
- Audi AG
- Audi of America, Inc.
- Audi of America, LLC
- DR. ING. H.C. F. Porsche AG
- Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
- Bentley Motors Limited
- Daimler AG
- Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
- Mercedes-Benz U.S. International
“Although the defendants are supposed to be competing with one another, they engaged in numerous and on-going meetings, communications, and agreements to coordinate the manufacture and sale of their luxury vehicles, thereby causing economic injury to [the plaintiffs] and the classes,” the lawsuit alleges.
A sticking point brought up early in the complaint is a document dated July 4, 2016 in which Volkswagen reportedly acknowledged to European regulators its “participation in suspected cartel infringements.” Volkswagen’s co-defendants in this action are named in that document, the complaint reads.
The proposed class covered by the lawsuit includes anyone who between at least January 1, 1990 through “such time as the anticompetitive effects of the defendants’ conduct ceased” purchased or leased any of the defendants’ luxury vehicles nationwide.