European Union officials are threateningÂ to sue four countries, including Germany and Britain, for permittingÂ Volkswagen AG to sell vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests. The union has faced growing criticism for taking a moreÂ laissez-faire approach to handling the issue while the United States forced the company to settle $15 billion in legal claims.
Meanwhile,Â German regulators are looking intoÂ whether Porsche intentionally manipulated fuel economy data on its vehicles â€” creating a potential subplot in Volkswagen’s never-endingÂ emissions-cheating scandal.
Europe may have weaker emission benchmarks than the United States, but the rules forbidding carmakers from installing software intended to deceive regulators and falsify results are similar. However, there is noÂ Environmental Protection Agency equivalent in the E.U. and, therefore, no one to police those regulations. Instead, the issue is entirely left up to the individual countries.
The New York Times reports that the European Commission has managed to band together to accuse four countries of failing to effectively punish Volkswagen Group for installing software that mislead testersÂ and allowed the vehicles to produce unacceptableÂ levels of pollution under practical use.Â â€œAbiding by the law is first and foremost the duty of car manufacturers,Â Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European commissioner for industry, said â€œBut national authorities across the E.U. must ensure that car manufacturers actually comply with the law.â€�
The Commission has given theÂ four countries â€” Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, and SpainÂ â€” two months in which to respond.Â With automakers seeking out countries with less stringent quality control for union-wide certification, the Commission has faced growing complaints to fix a broken system and exercise its power.
When the European Commission previously askedÂ countries how they enforce emissions rules, 11 of the 28, including Britain, France and Poland, didn’t even bother to reply.
â€œAfter months of delays, and years of deception of consumers, this action is overdue,â€� Bas Eickhout, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said in a statement. â€œTodayâ€™s announcement also proves that the commission does indeed have the ability to take action against member states, something they have repeatedly denied in the past.â€�
Meanwhile, Germanyâ€™s Transport Ministry and Federal Motor Transport Authority are investigatingÂ whether Porsche knowingly installed the defeat devices that allowed its cars to sense when they wereÂ being tested for fuel economyÂ and greenhouse emissions. German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reports that an unidentified people close to Porsche tipped off the Transportation Ministry to the alleged cheating.
A Porsche spokesman has stated that the companyâ€™s cars complied with the fuel consumption and emissions laws in place at the time of the vehicles’ registration.
The report specifies that the investigation focuses primarily on the same so-called “wheel identifier” German authorities began looking into last month with Audi. The equipped cars can detect whether theyâ€™re on a test bed due to the lack of steering input during operation.
Article source: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/12/1467226/