Denials flow in emission test scandal

Light is being shed on other manufacturers and one by one they’re coming forward

Published: September 28, 2015, 5:00 AM
Updated: September 30, 2015, 1:35 PM

Audi Q7 2008 diesel

In light of the Volkswagen emissions test cheating scandal, the light is being shed on other manufacturers and one by one they’re coming forward to cooperate with investigations while denying any wrong-doing.

Daimler has issued a statement that reads “we categorically deny the accusation of manipulating emission tests regarding our vehicles. A defeat device, a function which illegitimately reduces emissions during testing, has never been and will never be used at Daimler. Our engines meet and adhere to every legal requirement.”

The release was in response to allegations by the German Environmental Aid Association (DUH) lobby group that the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles (along with other manufacturers) had also manipulated emissions tests.

In the statement, Daimler also said it was “evaluating our legal options pertaining to the approach taken and the public assertions made by the DUH.”

BMW was accused in German auto magazine Auto Bild that its X3 diesel compact crossover had also failed emissions testing, but later clarified that the vehicle had failed an emissions test but that was not indicative of tampering. The claim was made by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the same group that alerted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about Volkswagen’s emissions test cheating.

BMW replied in a statement that its vehicles’ “exhaust treatment systems are active whether rolling on the test bench or driving on the road.” Although it did not specifically address the accusations about the X3, it added that “studies carried out by the ICCT have confirmed that the BMW X5 and 13 other BMW vehicles tested comply with the legal requirements concerning NOx emissions. No discrepancies were found in the X5 between laboratory-test and field-test NOx emissions.”

Naturally, any company that markets diesel-engined vehicles is coming under scrutiny with the thought that emissions regulations are so strict they force companies to cheat in order to meet them. The hope of the industry, it is argued, is that more cars be caught with defeat devices so that it forces regulators to perhaps loosen restrictions.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has issued a simple e-mail reply to a Reuters question by stating “FCA U.S. does not use ‘defeat devices,’” although its diesel options in North America are limited to Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram vans and trucks. It did use VW diesel engines in some of its European cars, such as the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger and Jeep Compass.