Members of the European Parliament have voted to overhaul EU rules on car approvals in order to toughen environmental and safety testing and, in turn, help to prevent future car emissions scandals.
MEPs from the Internal Market Committee amended EU car type approval rules. They agreed that individual type approval deals between domestic car makers and their national regulators will face much closer scrutiny and be made public.
The reforms come as the emissions scandal widens, with fresh allegations surrounding Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)and Nissan.
Following the American Environmental Protection Agency publicly accusing FCA in January of using cheat devices akin to those employed by Volkswagen, Italy’s transport ministry has now said the firm was allowed to skip tests in Italy’s emissions- cheating investigation.
The tests, designed to find illegal engine software, were completed by BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and General Motors but three of the seven FCA models tested didn’t record results.
The three models were a Jeep Cherokee 2.0, Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 and Lancia Ypsilon 1.3. However, transport ministry spokesman Luisa Gabbi told Reuters more results for FCA models would follow and “no key test has been omitted for FCA”. FCA also denies breaking any laws.
Meanwhile, Nissan has been found guilty of using a cheat device on a 1.6-litre diesel engine in a Qashqai SUV sold in South Korea, the country’s government has ruled.
Nissan insists it has complied with regulations. “We are disappointed with the court’s decision,” a statement from Nissan said. “Nissan Korea maintains that it has complied with all existing regulations and did not use an ‘unjustified arbitrary set-up’ or an illegal defeat device in the Euro 6 Qashqai.”
The Qashqai models affected were built in the UK and used 1.6-litre diesel engines from Nissan sister brand Renault. Qashqai sales in South Korea have been halted and 814 models have been recalled.
More revelations about Volkswagen and Dieselgate have also emerged after the company announced it would consider taking legal action against ousted chairman Ferdinand Piech. It follows media reports suggesting he informed senior members of the board about the emissions scandal six months before it became public.
It is alleged that in March 2015, Piech told then-boss Martin Winterkorn and members of the board’s steering committee about the cheating of diesel emissions tests, but VW refutes the claim.
A VW statement said: “All affected members of the executive committee of the supervisory board, acting independently of each other, have unequivocally and emphatically rejected all assertions made by Ferdinand Piech as untrue.
The board of management will carefully weigh the possibility of measures and claims against Mr Piech.