U.S. Justice Department issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has issued civil subpoenas to four major automakers, demanding that they disclose details on a deal struck with California in July to follow strict vehicle emissions standards, a source briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

The Justice Department is carrying out an antitrust investigation into the voluntary agreement. It comes against a growing number of fights between the Republican White House and California on a number of fronts, including numerous environmental issues.

The Trump administration in September issued a determination that California cannot set its own vehicle emission standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates and is investigating if the companies engaged in anti-competitive conduct in striking the deal.

The Justice Department has issued civil investigative demands to Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG, and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), the source said. The Wall Street Journal reported the subpoenas earlier.

The subpoenas ask for details of how the agreements were reached and if the automakers engaged in improper conduct, the person said.

The Justice Department declined to comment. The department has previously said that in August it sent the four automakers letters, without giving details.

A BMW spokesman confirmed on Thursday it had received a subpoena.

Source: Reuters

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