Vauxhall is dragged into Emissions Scandal

A new report from Germany has pointed the finger at Vauxhall for using some form of “cheat device” on its Zafira 1.6CDTi model and potentially others. A charge Vauxhall is firmly denying. The report claims the car emits levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) up to 17 times the level allowed under EU6 emission regulations.

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The German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) which is behind this claim has conducted a series of emissions tests on a Zafira 1.6 CDTi which suggest it’s scamming emissions tests in Europe by utilizing a crude “cheat device” that recognises when only the front axle is turning instead of both axles.

The implication of this report is clear: that Vauxhall is guilty of dirty tricks similar to those used at Volkswagen, perhaps with ‘defeat devices’ used to manipulate test results in laboratory conditions.

Vauxhall has firmly rejected the claims, however, saying the emission values of the Zafira 1.6 CDTi are ‘absolutely correct’ and ‘in line with the law’.

The basis of this claim comes from The team from the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, which carried out the tests on behalf of DUH, said in its conclusion that the use of the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system , which injects a urea-based substance into the exhaust in order to reduce NOx emissions, seemed to be dependent on the test conditions.

“The NOx emissions in the NEDC cycle depend on the test mode of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive,” it said. “In the two-wheel-drive mode the vehicle met the NOx regulations. At low speeds, NOx emissions are likely to depend on the activity or the storage effect of the SCR system.

“The behaviour of the SCR system seems to be dependent on the test mode, since the NOx trends are different in the two test stand modes of operation.”

In a statement, Opel & Vauxhall, whose parent company is General Motors (GM), said: “Opel emphatically rebuts the claims of the German Environmental Relief. We would once again like to emphasize the following, valid for all our cars: GM developed software has no features that detect whether the vehicle is undergoing an exhaust emissions test.

GM also say they have conducted their own tests using a four-wheel rolling road and saw no discrepancies from the results on a two-wheel rolling road.

DUH has referred its report to KBA, Germany’s federal motor transport authority, demanding they conduct further tests in light of the findings in the report.

We shall have to wait and see the outcome of this story as it develops as to whether another non VW Group Manufacturer becomes embroiled in this emissions scandal.