Jeep, Suzuki models face EU ban for breaking emissions rules

Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Vitara had used "prohibited emissions strategies" that led them to emit higher levels of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) on the road than under testing conditions, according to the Dutch RDW authority. [Michael / Flickr]

Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Suzuki’s Vitara diesel models both break emissions rules and must be fixed or face a ban on sales across Europe, the Dutch road authority ruled on Thursday (23 January).

The RDW authority, acting as the reference regulator for across the European Union, said Jeep had developed a software fix and that the authority had ordered the company to recall the model across Europe to roll it out.

It added Suzuki had yet to find a credible solution for the Vitara.

“Suzuki must come with adequate improvement measures or the RDW will begin the process of revoking its European type approval,” the RDW said in a statement, adding it had also started the process of revoking approval for the Jeep Grand Cherokee as a “precautionary measure.”

Regulators across the world have been testing diesel models since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it used illegal software to cheat US emissions tests.

The RDW said it had found both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Vitara had used “prohibited emissions strategies” that led them to emit higher levels of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) on the road than under testing conditions.

Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure, Stientje van Veldhoven, said in a letter to parliament she would inform prosecutors of the RDW’s findings.

Fiat Chrysler and Suzuki could not immediately be reached for comment.

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New diesel vehicles are exceeding the limit for particle emissions, European campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) said on Monday (13 January), calling on EU lawmakers to make emissions testing and regulations stricter.

Volvo accused of cheating

Separately, Swedish carmaker Volvo also faced accusation of cheating EU rules.

A German environmental group said Thursday it had discovered Volvo SUVs emitting massively higher levels of harmful pollutants than legally allowed in the EU, although Volvo denied accusations.

Researchers at the DUH group “discovered, what is in our view, a clearly illegal defeat device when measuring exhaust from a Volvo XC60… in real on-road driving,” they said in a statement.

So-called defeat devices manage car engines to allow higher emissions out on the road than under test conditions.

At temperatures between nine and 22 degrees Celsius, the Volvo’s diesel motor emitted four times more harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) than allowed under “Euro 5” standards, DUH said.

This marks the first time Volvo has faced accusations of “dieselgate” cheating.

But the Swedish carmaker, owned by China’s Geely, was quick to reject allegations of software trickery.

Higher emissions in cold temperatures “do not mean an illegal defeat device” is built into a car, a Volvo spokesman told AFP.

Rather, “every internal combustion engine” has a so-called “protection function” that reduces exhaust treatment in cold weather to prevent damage to the motor from condensation and ice formation, he added.

“All vehicles” were “licensed according to legal stipulations by the authorities,” the spokesman said.

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