German prosecutors are going after French-owned automaker Opel in the wake of allegations that the manufacturer lied about its diesel emissions. German auto officials are slapping the company with a mass recall of 100,000 units after Opel facilities were raided by authorities.
Opel accused of manipulating exhaust numbers
The German federal transport authority KBA “filed charges” against Open on Monday, accusing them of making cars with manipulated exhaust software. These systems are rigged to make cars seem like they’re emitting less exhaust than they really are.
KBA prosecutors told the media some 95,000 cars are suspected of having this manipulated exhaust system.
“After a fifth defeat device was discovered in early 2018, which (motor authority KBA) found to be illegal, there is currently an official hearing going on with the goal of imposing a mandatory recall for the models Cascada, Insignia and Zafira,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to some estimates from the KBA, Opel’s diesel models exceeded emissions standards by over 10 times the legal limits.
“The official recall of the affected roughly 100,000 vehicles will take place shortly,” it added.
Since the recall has been made public, Opel said it would fully cooperate with authorities.
"We cannot comment on details concerning the ongoing investigation at this moment in time," officials said in a statement. "The company is fully cooperating with the authorities. Opel reaffirms that its vehicles comply with the applicable regulations."
Opel officials also told the press that public prosecutors from Frankfurt had raided their German headquarters in Ruesselsheim and in the Kaiserslautern factory in south-west Germany.
However, the company still maintains their cars are up to emissions standards both in Germany and in Europe as a whole.
??: Wir bekräftigen, dass unsere Fahrzeuge den geltenden Vorschriften entsprechen.— Opel Newsroom (@OpelNewsroom) October 15, 2018
??: Opel reaffirms that its vehicles comply with the applicable regulations.
The probe began in July of this year, as the German ministry officials told media it was looking into Opel’s Euro 6 models but nothing could be concluded until the probe was done.
Last year, French automotive maker PSA bought Opel. The Opel name was previously owned by General Motors, but General Motors sold the company for 1.3 billion euros. PSA has declined to comment to the press regarding Opel's diesel accusations or Opel's sister brand Vauxhall, according to Automotive News Europe.
How ‘dieselgate’ affects other manufacturers
The Opel scandal is one of several manufacturers struggling with irregular or manipulated diesel numbers. In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to putting “defeat devices” on over 11 million cars to make the cars seem less polluting in lab settings than on the road.
Shortly after that, BMW and Daimler (the Mercedes-Benz parent company) were probed by German officials for similar charges. One former chief at Audi, executive Rupert Stradler, quit his job after withholding information and providing fraudulent information to investors about the company’s emissions issues.
Interesting Engineering will continue to monitor this story and update it as more information becomes available.