FRANKFURT -- BMW has told its top managers that regulators probing reports of collusion among German automakers will find the allegations hard to justify, two sources familiar with the matter said.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported last month that BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen may have used industry committee meetings to fix the size of tanks for AdBlue, a liquid used to treat nitrogen oxide in diesel emissions.
The article was discussed at a closed-door "OFK" BMW leadership meeting in Munich last week, two sources familiar with the meeting told Reuters.
OFK is an acronym to describe the company's top leaders, referred to in German as "obere fuehrungskraefte."
BMW's top managers expressed surprise at the impact on share prices and the level of media attention received by the Der Spiegel article, the sources said.
BMW's top lawyer said regulators investigating the allegation that automakers had colluded to standardize the size of Adblue tanks would quickly realize that the tank sizes were all different, they said.
A survey of the biggest selling vehicles at Audi, BMW and Mercedes by Reuters shows that the vehicles do not have identically sized AdBlue tanks.
The AdBlue tank in the current BMW 3 series has a capacity of about 4.75 gallons, while the Audi A4's has 3.1 gallons. Mercedes C-Class models can be fitted with tanks that are 6.6 gallons or 2.2 gallons. A variety of tank sizes is also evident in larger and smaller cars sold by BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
"As a result, there was no doomsday mood," a person familiar with the discussions said. BMW's lawyer however cautioned that an ongoing investigation may throw up further facts, this person said.
BMW said it rejected accusations that current diesel vehicles do not provide adequate exhaust gas treatment due to AdBlue tanks which are "too small".
By combining an AdBlue and an NOx-storage catalytic converter together with exhaust-gas recirculation systems, BMW cars are able to fulfill all legal emissions requirements, the company said.