|January 20, 2016|
Emissions scandal: 95pc of diesel cars break official limits when driven on the road
|Almost all diesel engines exceed ​official emissions limits once they are in the hands of motorists according to new research, as questions were yesterday raised about potential emissions rigging by Vauxhall and Renault. |
Consumer magazine Which? found that 95pc of diesel cars and 10pc of petrol vehicles emitted nitrogen oxides (NOx) above acceptable levels when driven on public roads.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was the worst performer out of the 153 diesel cars they, producing 15 times the amount permitted.
Researchers also found that two-thirds of the petrol cars they tested broke limits on carbon monoxide emissions.
Despite the results of the study, all the of the cards tested complied with emissions regulations when undergoing official tests.
Tougher testing methods are due to be introduced from September next year but Which? is calling for this to happen sooner.
Vauxhall was yesterday dragged into the emissions scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen, after an investigation in Belgium founds dramatic drops in nitrogen oxides emissions levels following dealer services of the Zafira model.
The company confirmed that the 1.6 litre diesel models that were at the centre of the allegations are sold in Britain, but denied that routine services were being used to rig emissions.
A spokesman told The Telegraph: "The software upgrade on the car is to do with a problem with a warning light that comes on too soon and tells you too soon that you need to put something in.
"It's nothing to do with emissions, it doesn't touch emissions or engine controls at all.
"The data provided by Emissions Analytics does not give us enough information to fully understand their results. We also need more info on the history of the test vehicle itself."
Belgian broadcaster VRT analysed key emissions from Zafira vehicles before and after they went into a local Opel dealer for a service. Vauxhall vehicles are sold as Opel outside of Britain.
Tests found that certain emissions levels dropped significantly following the work.
"We don't know how they are doing their testing," Vauxhall said of the investigation.
The manufacturer confirmed that the model tested in Belgium is available to buy in Britain.
Meanwhile French car-maker Renault confirmed on Tuesday that it will recall 270 of its Captur models in Britain amid concerns of an "error in the engine calibration unit".
The French car maker vehemently denied using Volkswagen-style emissions test 'defeat devices' on its vehicles.
Renault will recall 15,800 vehicles worldwide and make upgraded emissions systems available to about 700,000 customers to quell a storm that emerged last week over concerns about VW-style deceit.
The carmaker has lost more than 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion) in market value since it became public that three sites in France were searched by government fraud investigators on January 7.
"We're not cheating," Renault Chief Competition Officer Thierry Bolloretold reporters on Tuesday. "We are meeting the norms, and we are not trying to trick the consumer."
Meanwhile Volkswagen could be liable to compensate consumers for losses suffered over the diesel emissions scandal, the Government said on Tuesday.
Transport spokesman Viscount Younger of Leckie told the Lords: "the Government view is that Volkswagen could be liable to compensate consumers for any actual losses they suffered."
Volkswagen has said that British owners of cars affected by the diesel emissions scandal will not receive compensation despite payouts being offered in the US because it is a "very different situation".
Labour's Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town said British Volkswagen drivers had been "well let down" by the company.
"They bought what they thought were low emissions cars only to find Volkswagen cheated them. Nearly a million cars will need to be recalled. Their resale value will then go down and yet Volkswagen is refusing to compensate UK owners."
Lady Hayter asked if this was in line with new consumer rights legislation passed last year and urged ministers to explain to the company that "misleading" purchasers should lead to compensation.
Lord Younger said: "The Government takes the unacceptable actions of Volkswagen extremely seriously and our priority is to protect the public as we investigate what went wrong."
He said there was no evidence that consumer rights had been breached but if they had legislation was in place to deal with the issue.
Tory former Cabinet minister John Gummer, who sits in the House as Lord Deben, a Volkswagen owner, said the "real damage done is to the general public by the additional air pollution, which is already very bad in London".
He said the Government should be "taking a pro-active stance to insist that Volkswagen makes proper reparations to society as a whole".
Lord Deben added: "Wouldn't it be outrageous if the US were to take these steps and we, in this country, did not?"
Lord Younger said the Department of Transport and the Department for Business had been pressing Volkswagen very hard in the past few months and that by February there would be a decision on affected UK customers.
Liberal Democrat Lord Stoneham of Droxford urged ministers not to accept discounted Volkswagen cars "instead of real money" as compensation for shortfalls in road tax.
Lord Younger said ministers needed to establish what the losses were, adding: "There is no question that if UK owners do have legitimate claims for compensation, they should be compensated."
To laughter, Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit asked if the Americans had been able to take action "because they are not subject to European community law".
Lord Younger said ministers were looking to get to the bottom of the decision to compensate US owners but not UK ones.
Tory Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes, a former consumer affairs minister, urged the Government to pursue the issue to protect UK consumers who may have been "hurt" by the scandal.
Lord Younger assured her that much work was going on "behind the scenes" and ministers took the issue "extremely seriously".