Justice Dept. investing automobile companies over California emissions pact

Visitors are seen at the stand of car maker Ford during the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany, on December 1, 2017.

The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into four auto makers that forged an independent agreement with California on vehicle-emissions standards, according to people familiar with the situation.

Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine if Ford Motor Co. , Honda Motor Co. , BMW AG and Volkswagen AG   violated federal competition law by agreeing with each other to follow tailpipe-emissions standards beyond those proposed by the Trump administration, the people said.

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Their deal was announced in collaboration with California air quality officials in July. Ford, BMW and Volkswagen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Honda will work cooperatively with the Department of Justice with regard to the recent emissions agreement reached between the State of California and various automotive manufacturers, including Honda,” the company said.

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