BMW's headquarters in Munich has been raided by the EU as it looks for evidence the car giant was part of a cartel with its German peers.

Investigators from the EU anti-trust watchdog searched the company's offices earlier this week, BMW said on Friday, in a sign an investigation into alleged collusion between German car makers is being stepped up, writes the Daily Telegraph.

The investigation began this summer after reports that BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group worked together on technical standards that could have allowed them to set prices.

Daimler - which owns the upmarket Mercedes marque - first reported the co-operation to watchdogs in a move that could see it pay lower fines should any illegal activity be uncovered.

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Last month Margrethe ­Vestager, the EU's Competition Commissioner, said ­investigators are checking to see if "completely legal co-operation" between German car companies could amount to a cartel.

In a statement, BMW said EU investigators "conducted an inspection" of its Munich base, and no formal proceedings have been opened against the company.

Separately today, Daimler said its profits fell in the third quarter. Sales of vehicles at the group were up 9 per cent at 824,000 in the three-month period, pushing revenue up 6 per cent.

However, net profit fell 17 per cent to €2.3bn ($3.98bn), after its Mercedes car division was hit with a huge recall and work to modify older diesel engines.