EU investigators inspect German automakers

The European Union's antitrust watchdog said Monday that investigators have conducted inspections at a number of German automakers over cartel concerns.

The European Commission, which polices competition, said that Monday's inspections came amid "concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices."

German national competition regulators accompanied the EU investigators on the pre-announced inspections.

The EU Commission did not say which automakers were involved, but said the inspections do not imply guilt.

Daimler said separately that investigators were on its premises.

"We can confirm that an announced inspection is taking place at Daimler," spokeswoman Uta Vellberg said, adding that "we are cooperating fully with the authorities."

Volkswagen and its Audi unit also confirmed receiving visits from European inspectors, German news agency dpa reported. They used the term "announced inspections" rather than searches and said they were cooperating fully with authorities.

BMW said Friday that EU Commission staff inspected its company offices in Munich last week in connection with news media allegations that German carmakers colluded on technology including diesel emission controls.