Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal needs EU inquiry: French minister

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Call for wider probe after VW revelations.

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea said Tuesday it will investigate emission levels of Volkswagen diesel vehicles after the world’s top-selling automaker admitted cheating U.S. tests.The US chief executive of Volkswagen has said the company has “totally screwed up” over the emissions scandal that has rocked the automotive industry.BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s transport minister says Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has promised full cooperation with the government following the company’s admission it rigged nearly a half million cars to defeat U.S. smog tests.

Shares in European car makers are falling for a second consecutive day as investors fear the industry is experiencing its own “Libor moment” after Volkswagen admitted to rigging US emissions tests. Park Pan-kyu, a deputy director at South Korea’s environment ministry, said that four models — Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 — are subject to the probe, which is expected to end in November. Michel Sapin told French radio that in order to “reassure” the public, it seemed “necessary” to carry out checks on cars manufactured by other European carmakers. “Even if it’s just to reassure people, it seems necessary to me that (checks should be carried out) also on French carmakers,” he said, adding he had no “particular reason” to suspect wrongdoing. The world’s second-biggest carmaker could face a fine of up to $18bn (£11.6bn), criminal charges for its executives, and legal action from customers and shareholders due to US claims it used a defeat device to falsify emissions data. Minister Alexander Dobrindt called for new tests in Germany following the news to determine whether any similar manipulation had taken place in Europe.

Volkswagen, which slumped almost 20 per cent yesterday, is down a further 4.5 per cent at publication time to €126.3 after Korea said earlier on Tuesday that it would also look into emissions of Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars. According to US authorities, VW admitted that it had equipped about 482 000 cars in the United States with sophisticated software that covertly turns off pollution controls when the car is being driven and turns them on only when it detects that the car is undergoing an emissions test. He told Bild newspaper Tuesday that he had held “very constructive” talks with Winterkorn and that “VW pledged its absolute support for all of the additional tests of the vehicles.” Dobrindt said Volkswagen, the world’s top-selling automaker, assured him that none of its new cars being produced have the software installed that allowed them to run in a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. Korea’s move comes after VW was forced on Friday by the US regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency, to recall almost half a million cars after it found the German auto giant had fitted so-called “defeat devices” to manipulate emissions tests.

But VW’s problems yesterday triggered concerns about the wider car industry in Europe and shares in other auto makers are once again under pressure on Tuesday. The House energy and commerce committee chairman, Fred Upton, and the oversight and investigations subcommittee chairman, Tim Murphy, announced that the oversight and investigations subcommittee will hold a hearing. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. Horn, speaking at an event to launch a new version of the Passat sedan, which featured rock star Lenny Kravitz, said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California air resources board and with all of you, and in my German words: we have totally screwed up. “We must fix the cars to prevent this from ever happening again and we have to make this right.

One of the officials involved in uncovering the alleged behaviour has told the Guardian that the emissions-fixing scandal could extend to other companies and countries. Billions of pounds have been wiped off the value of global carmakers amid growing concerns that emissions tests may have been rigged across the industry. “We need to ask the question, is this happening in other countries and is this happening at other manufacturers? A British expert in low-emission vehicles claimed the manipulation of air pollution data could be widespread and that tests in Europe are “much more open to this sort of abuse”. All credit to the EPA for investigating and finding the truth.” Archer, the former managing director of the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and non-executive director for the government’s Renewable Fuels Agency, said the scandal could spread into petrol cars and CO2 levels. “It is probably not limited to diesel and not limited to emissions,” he added.

These testing companies have been verified by regulators in each country, such as the Vehicle Certification Agency, but in the US the tests are conducted by an independent body. There is no evidence that manufacturers cheat the cycle. “The industry acknowledges, however, that the current test method is outdated and is seeking agreement from the European commission for a new emissions test that embraces new testing technologies and is more representative of on-road conditions.” The US allegations involve a series of diesel cars produced by VW and the brands it owns, such as Audi.

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