A law suit launched against Renault and Nissan has alleged that up to about 1.4 million vehicles of the companies that had been sold in Britain were potentially equipped with illegal defeat devices. The listed vehicle models as mentioned in the law suit includes a petrol-powered version of Nissan Qashqai which is one of the best selling family cars it eh United Kingdom.
When used on the road, some of the cars that have been mentioned in the law suit produced up to 15 times the legal level of nitrogen oxides permitted, said the law firm behind the case, Harcus Parker.
The charges placed in the law suits were refuted by both the companies.
A series of independent tests conducted to check the vehicles indicated that about 1.3 million diesel cars built by Nissan and its French partner Renault could have been fitted with devices to cheat emission norms, said Harcus Parker.
These internally controlled systems essentially get triggered when the vehicle is being tested and turns on emissions controls equipment but those are automatically switched off when such vehicles ply on the road so that the performance and reliability, or both, of the vehicles are improved.
Harcus Parker also claims that up to 100,000 petrol-powered cars could have also been fitted with such devices. These are Nissan Qashqais fitted with a 1.2 litre engine.
Since 2015, when the hugely controversial emission cheating scandal involving the German giant Volkswagen, there has been much greater scrutiny of emissions and emission testing of diesel vehicles. Following the Volkswagen scandal, the German auto major had paid more than €30bn in fines, compensation and buyback schemes to regulators in different countries. The company is still fighting a number of cases filed by consumers, including one in the United Kingdom in which some 90,000 car owners are involved.
Harcus Parker claims that the 1.2l Qashqai produces many times the legal level of NOx when used in real world driving conditions. This postulate was confirmed by tests carried out by the Department for Transport (DfT) of the UK in 2017. Following those tests, Nissan was asked by the DfT if it could modify the design to reduce emissions. That however has not happened till date.
“For the first time, we have seen evidence that car manufacturers may be cheating emissions tests of petrol, as well as diesel vehicles”, says Damon Parker, senior partner at the law firm. “The data suggests to me these vehicles much like some VWs and Mercedes cars, know when they are being tested – and are on their best behaviour then and only then”.
That meant that the p[price that was paid for those vehicles was more than they should have been charged and therefore the consumers should be entitled to get a compensation of about £5,000 each, Harcus Parker claimed.
“All Groupe Renault vehicles are, and always have been, type-approved in accordance with the laws and regulations for all the countries in which they are sold and are not fitted with ‘defeat devices'”, Renault said in a statement.
“Nissan strongly refutes these claims. Nissan has not and does not employ defeat devices in any of the cars that we make, and all Nissan vehicles fully comply with applicable emissions legislation,” said Nissan in response to the law suit.
(Adapted from BBC.com)