Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Emissions irregularities scandal spreads further
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Emissions irregularities scandal spreads further

Date: 04 May 2016   |   Author: Tristan Young

More car makers are coming under emissions test scrutiny following investigations in Germany. Mercedes, Opel and Volkswagen Group have all said they will recall vehicles that, while not illegal, have used a loophole to improve the results of official emissions testing.

Manufacturers used the loophole to reduce, for example, the possibility of engine damage, and improve NOx figures. Ultimately, it meant car makers could save money or hit emissions legislation targets at a lower cost in terms of research and development.

The German tests that kicked off the voluntary recall revealed that real-world NOx figures were all higher than official stats. Similar discrepancies have also been found by the UK Government and independent real-world testing.

Fiat has been dragged into the scandal after German authorities discovered the Italian manufacturer's NOx reduction system in some vehicles turns off after 22 minutes. The significance of this is that the official test lasts 20 minutes.

The number of brands tarred with the emissions scandal brush has been growing ever since Volkswagen first admitted it had installed cheat software in 11 million cars globally, including 1.2 million in the UK.

In January, Renault was raided by French authorities investigating emissions figures but has denied any wrongdoing. This was followed by a similar raid on Peugeot-Citroen's facilities in April.

Outside Europe, Mercedes is also investigating the way it has previously carried out emissions and fuel consumption testing in the US to check the veracity of quoted figures. Mitsubishi, meanwhile has seen its share price plummet after revealing that it had overinflated tyres before official fuel tests in Japan with the result of improved figures.

Historically, the focus for the automotive industry - driven by governments - has been to reduce CO2 emissions in order to decrease the impact of vehicles on global warming.

Pressure is now growing on both manufacturers and governments to reduce NOx emissions because these have been shown to have a more immediate detrimental impact on health than other engine emissions.

Emissions admissions:

September 2015   VW Group Admits cheating in emissions tests. 11 million vehicles affected globally, 1.2 million in the UK
January 2016   Renault Raided by French authorities investigating emissions figures
April 2016   Mercedes Investigating its US emissions testing procedure
April 2016   Mitsubishi Admits cheating official Japanese fuel figure tests. 600,000-plus cars affected (going back to 1991)
April 2016   Mercedes, Opel and VW Group Recalling 630,000 diesel cars in Germany to change software that made use of an emissions test loophole. While not illegal, the loophole allows car makers to perform better in emissions tests that on the road
April 2016   Peugeot-Citroen Raided by French authorities investigating emissions figures
April 2016   Fiat German authorities discover NOx reduction system turns off after 22 the official test is 20 minutes