There’s an old saying in the UK – you can wait for hours for a bus then two will come along together. It’s an analogy that can be placed on many things. How often, for example, do you see or hear about something of which you have never come across before only for it to crop up again within a very short space of time? As soon as some scandal breaks there seems to suddenly be all sorts of people coming forward saying they have been affected.
Is this what we are seeing with the so-called emissions defeat devices? Since the scandal broke in the US last year when the VW Group was accused of cheating the system, the finger is now being pointed in all directions – Fiat, Mitsubishi, Opel and Nissan among those coming under scrutiny from Europe to Asia to North America.
Opel is refuting claims in Germany that it has so-called ‘defeat devices’ installed to some of its diesel engine models in order to rig emissions tests. Germany’s Transportation Ministry announced last week that it will look into the business practices of Opel, following allegations by environmental activists and media outlets that Opel’s diesel models have been cheating emissions tests.
There’s part of the problem. Agendas are being brought into play – environmentalists are looking for any stick with which to beat the car industry while the media loves the whiff of a scandal.
In South Korea the environment ministry probed 20 diesel car models in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Only the Nissan Qashqai failed the test – even though it has passed in other countries. So, there’s another part of the problem – differing test procedures and requirements around the world.
We made the point last year that no matter what the test, people will do all they can to pass it before getting on with the rest of their lives. What we really need is for someone to regulate the regulators. If seems ridiculous to have a different set of emissions rules depending on which part of the world you live in.
Shouldn’t everyone be pulling in the same direction on this one?