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German 'dieselgate' investigators target Porsche employees
by Staff Writers
Frankfurt Am Main (AFP) July 10, 2017


Suzuki, Fiat Chrysler in Dutch emissions data probe
The Hague (AFP) July 10, 2017 - Dutch vehicle authorities said Monday that carmakers Suzuki and Fiat Chrysler were being referred to the public prosecutor for possibly misusing emissions software.

The Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) revealed its findings in its second report since the so-called Dieselgate scandal erupted two years ago.

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that it had installed software devices in 11 million diesel-engine cars worldwide that reduced emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) when the devices detected the vehicle was undergoing tests.

The RDW said in its report on Monday that it had found Suzuki's Vitara and Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee "had higher NOx emissions than could be justified".

The authority had re-tested 16 vehicle types whose emission control systems had shown possible discrepancies.

Further tests on 14 cars had concluded that the "reduced performance of the emission control system was permissible to protect the engine".

But in the case of the remaining two vehicles, the Suzuki and the Jeep, "it was not plausible that the reduced efficiency of the emissions control system was in order to protect the engine" and "further research" was needed.

In the case of the Suzuki, the authority concluded that there appeared to be some kind of "tool for unauthorised manipulations" of the emissions.

"The RDW has informed the public prosecutor about these vehicles," it said, adding it would determine whether any criminal offence has been committed as it was "not permissible" to have unexplained high emissions of toxic gases.

VW faces an array of legal challenges in Germany and worldwide relating to the software, installed mainly in own-brand vehicles but also in cars made by Audi, Skoda and Seat, among its stable of 12 brands.

In total, Volkswagen has agreed to pay some $23 billion in the United States to compensate some 600,000 US car owners.

In May, US environmental regulators filed a lawsuit against automaker Fiat Chrysler, accusing it of installing devices on its trucks, that hid harmful emissions during testing.

Investigators in Germany said Monday they are probing employees of luxury sports car maker and Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche over emissions cheating.

Prosecutors in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, a car industry bastion, said in a statement they had opened a probe against "persons unknown working for the car maker and a US subsidiary".

The investigation into "suspicion of fraud and false advertising" stems from "possible manipulation of exhaust treatment in diesel vehicles from Porsche AG".

Porsche spokesman Christian Weiss told AFP that the company "takes the prosecutors' investigation very seriously" and would "do the utmost to clear up the issue comprehensively and as quickly as possible".

Volkswagen, the world's largest carmaker, admitted in September 2015 to using so-called "defeat device" software to cheat regulatory nitrogen oxides emissions tests in some 11 million cars worldwide.

The devices allowed the cars to spew up to 40 times the permissible limits of nitrogen oxide during normal driving, but this was hidden during emissions testing.

Present Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller led Porsche AG between 2010 and 2015, taking charge at the parent company after his predecessor Martin Winterkorn stepped down over the "dieselgate" revelations.

Stuttgart prosecutors said in May they were investigating Mueller over market manipulation, suspecting he failed to share information about the diesel cheating scandal quickly enough with shareholders as a director of Porsche SE.

Porsche SE, separate from car maker Porsche AG, is a company owned by descendants of VW Beetle inventor Ferdinand Porsche that holds a controlling stake in Volkswagen.

VW faces an array of legal challenges in Germany and worldwide relating to defeat device software, installed mainly in own-brand vehicles but also in cars made by Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat, among its stable of 12 brands.

In the United States, VW settled criminal and civil charges against it with $4.3 billion in fines.

The carmaker has agreed total payouts of some $23 billion, especially in compensation to around 600,000 car owners.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Munich, southern Germany, last week arrested a former Audi executive wanted in the US in connection with the scandal.

The Italian suspect led a team of engineers responsible for designing emissions control systems for diesel vehicles in the United States between 2006 and late 2015.

bur-tgb/dlc/spm

VOLKSWAGEN

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France 'to end sales of petrol, diesel vehicles by 2040'
Paris (AFP) July 6, 2017
France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, new Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced Thursday. "We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040," Hulot said, calling it a "veritable revolution". Hulot acknowledged that reaching the goal would be "tough", particularl ... read more

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