Suzuki model made in Hungary target of Dutch investigation

The Dutch road authority (RDW) found in an investigation that carmakers Suzuki and Fiat Chrysler misused vehicle emissions software. Two models are affected, one of which is manufactured in Hungary.
RDW found that the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Suzuki Vitara models produced unacceptably high levels of toxic emissions during road tests, Euractiv and Reuters reported. The latter model is manufactured at the Esztergom-based plant of Suzuki in Hungary.
The road transport authority said there are about 27,000 Jeeps and 42,000 Suzukis on European roads.

The RDW, which checks if cars meet safety and environmental regulations, said on Monday it tested 16 carmakers in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal that hit in September 2015, and that Japanese carmaker Suzuki’s Vitara model and Fiat Chrysler’s Grand Cherokee Jeep failed the test. The Dutch agency has been investigating what it called “impermissible defeat devices" for the past year. The focus was on nitrogen oxide emission levels in diesel cars that appeared much higher than legally allowed during road driving rather than under laboratory test conditions.

The RDW said that in all cases carmakers argued that the reason for the discrepancy was software intended to protect the motor from harm under certain conditions.

Such software is permissible under current European law and the agency no longer refers to it as a “defeat device" but uses the term “impermissible software" for when the pollution seems out of proportion with any need to protect the engine.

Suzuki Vitaras appeared to emit much more nitrogen oxide after a short time on the road, the RDW said. The company has offered a fix and is currently rolling it out for the roughly 8,000 Vitara models on Dutch roads.

The agency has no power to levy fines, that will be up to prosecutors, RDW Director Paul Dietz said.

Dutch prosecutors said on Monday they will investigate possible misuse of vehicle emissions software by Suzuki and Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) said last May that of all the country’s carmakers only Suzuki and Mitsubishi applied irregular methods to test fuel efficiency and actual emissions.

“As the outcome of our internal investigation, acts of injustice, such as manipulation of fuel efficiency data, were not found,’’ Suzuki Motor acknowledged. Nevertheless, it went on to admit that ``some discrepancies were found in the automobile emission and fuel efficiency testing process between the regulation by MLIT and the actual method carried out by Suzuki.’’

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