BMW stock tumbles after report of high emissions

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BMW denies manipulating or rigging diesel tests amid Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Volkswagen’s diesel-cheating affair deepened as the European Union urged all 28-member countries to start their own investigations and the scandal threatened to ensnare rival BMW. “We are inviting all member states to carry out investigations at the national level,” European Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said in Brussels on Thursday. One day after Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation over the German automaker’s use of software to dupe emissions control tests, European countries are conducting new tests – and the Auto Bild site says a BMW diesel model also failed to meet European standards.The ongoing scandal at Volkswagen widened today to include another automaker, as BMW denied a report in a German magazine that its X3 sport utility vehicle also failed an emissions test, reportedly spewing out 11 times the legal level of pollutants while in operation.

German luxury carmaker BMW has been dragged into the emissions testing scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen, with its shares falling sharply after a report that some of its diesel cars exceeded emissions standards. The entire car industry and the methods used for testing vehicles are coming under scrutiny following revelations that VW’s “clean diesel” cars have software intended to defeat emissions tests. That test was carried out by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which found that the BMW model performed worse than a VW Passat TDI – one of the cars included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s call for a recall. The report had sent BMW’s shares into a tailspin on the Frankfurt stock exchange, as investors feared that other manufacturers were also involved in the massive pollution scam at Volkswagen. “Volkswagen is not the only carmaker whose cars produce high levels of nitrogen oxide,” said the magazine, accusing certain vehicles of the BMW group of the same.

The European carmakers’ lobby group, the ACEA, on Wednesday placed the blame in VW’s court, issuing a statement saying that “there is no evidence this is an industry-wide issue.” German newspaper Bild reported on Thursday that Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg and Porsche development head Wolfgang Hatz will leave their posts. The test-cheating software is on 11 million vehicles worldwide, Volkswagen said this week, vastly increasing the scope of a problem that the EPA had said affects more than 480,000 diesel VW and Audi vehicles in the U.S. Today, Germany’s transportation minister said Volkswagen’s diesel cars in Europe with 1.6 and 2.0 liter engines have the deceptive software, adding that random tests will be carried out on a wide range of vehicles. BMW denied the report, saying while it was not aware of the ICCT’s specific tests, it did not “manipulate or rig any emissions tests,” the automaker said in a statement. “We observe the legal requirements in each country and adhere to all local testing requirements. The news comes after an ICCT investigation conducted in cooperation with West Virginia University researchers uncovered irregularities in the emissions performance of Volkswagen diesel cars.

The ICCT had been at the origin of the stunning revelations of cheating by Volkswagen, which went public last Friday when the United States announced a probe. “When it comes to our vehicles, there is no difference in the treatment of exhaust emissions whether they are on rollers (eg. test bench situation) or on the road,” BMW said. “We are not familiar with the test mentioned by Auto Bild concerning the emissions of a BMW X3 during a road test. Germany’s motor vehicle administration “will concentrate its investigations not only on the Volkswagen models in question but will also do spot checks of other car manufacturers,” transport minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters in Berlin.

It said there had been no manipulation of emission tests, and that its vehicle exhaust systems do not distinguish between testing and the road environment. German media are now reporting that two top development executives at Volkswagen units — one at Audi and another at Porsche — will also leave the car giant, due to their earlier roles at Volkswagen’s central division. BMW said that there’s no system in its cars that responds to tests differently than it would operate on the road. “However, there are concerns for the long-term damage on the business with diesel cars for every manufacturer that builds cars with these engines.” The EPA called that software part of a “defeat device” that enabled VW cars to pass emissions tests – even though under normal driving conditions, they emit up to 40 times more pollution than allowed under U.S. standards. The U.S. authorities have now found proof.” “A special software installed on a small computer recognizes that the vehicle is not running normally, but instead, running in test mode.

The new limit value is not as stringent as it appears, because it applies to an outdated emissions certification driving cycle (the New European Driving Cycle, NEDC) that should be replaced by a more realistic one (the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Cycle, WLTC) from 2017 on. “But the biggest challenge for diesel passenger car manufacturers arises not from the certification cycle but from the real-driving emissions (RDE) test, which is scheduled to become a mandatory step for the type approval of passenger cars in the EU in January 2016. Under this new testing framework, diesel passenger cars will have to prove that they can keep NOx emissions at reasonably low levels during a test that more closely represents real-world driving situations.”

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