Thursday 21 April 2016

Mitsubishi falls on its sword

It is reaching a sad point, indeed an indictment, when the “man in street” does not believe the information given out by automobile manufacturers.
In Japan, Mitsubishi Motors has admitted to producing fake fuel economy figures; figures that are false by up to 10 per cent on some 600,000 cars.
It seems the figures came to light when Nissan Motor Company became suspicious of performance data relating to 470,000 of the cars made by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on its behalf.
It is suggested Mitsubishi over-inflated test vehicle tyres to enhance fuel economy performance during tests.
Mitsubishi president Tetsuro Aikawa bowed in apology at a news conference in Tokyo and accepted that staff had deliberately falsified results.
Aikawa said "The wrongdoing was intentional. It is clear the falsification was done to make the mileage look better."
He said he had not been aware of the irregularities, but added "I feel responsible."
Mitsubishi, founded in 1870, became well known in the Second World War for the manufacture of Zero aircraft used by Kamikaze pilots.
Meanwhile, in the UK, against reports that Volkswagen has been buying back diesel cars in the US, Christian Stadler, of Warwick Business School where he is Professor of Strategic Management, said: "What is still uncertain is whether this also resolves issues Volkswagen has with the US Justice Department. There is a pending civil suit and an on-going criminal investigation. If this deal manages to also resolve these issues it is really great for Volkswagen.”
"From the perspective of the car owners it sounds like a decent deal. They will be able to sell back the car or get the issue fixed. On top of this they will receive some compensation. It remains to be seen how much this is but I presume that even a modest sum will be welcome."
Also in the UK, according to the UK Department for Transport in its tests, vehicles tested in the UK programme however showed no evidence of car manufacturers, apart from the VW Group, fitting devices to defeat the approved emissions test programme.
The official UK testing has been carried out alongside an investigation by the German Ministry for Transport. It has done so to “fulfil a commitment to consumers to investigate potential manipulation of emission controls”.
The UK tests have not detected evidence of test cycle manipulation strategies as used by the Volkswagen (VW) Group.
But the tests have provided further evidence that nitrogen oxide (NOₓ) emissions are higher in real world conditions and on the test track than they are in laboratory conditions. This was the case for all manufacturers’ vehicles, with results varying significantly between different makes and models.
The UK tests were carried out on a total of 56 different vehicle types in Germany and 37 different vehicle types in the UK, over a period of six months. Cars sold before 1 September 2015 must not emit more than 180mg/km of nitrous oxide. Among those tested were: Vauxhall Insignia, 1,881mg/km; Vauxhall Astra, 1,227; Mercedes E250, 1,213; Skoda Octavia, 854; Ford Mondeo, 579; and Citroen C4, 518. Cars sold after 1 September 2015 must not emit more than 80mg/km if nitrous oxide. Among those tested were Peugeot 3008, 1,104; Jaguar XE, 666; Ford Focus, 658; Mazda 6, 313; Skoda Octavia, 204; and BMW X5, 157.
The Vehicle Certification Agency on behalf of the UK Department for Transport tested a representative selection of the UK’s top selling diesel vehicles. The findings provide a snapshot of exhaust emissions from those diesel models when tested in the laboratory, on a test track and during typical road use.
Existing lab tests designed to ensure emission limits are met have been shown to be inadequate and this is why the UK has secured a tough new Europe-wide ‘real driving emissions’ test. From next year, vehicles will have to meet emissions limits in real driving conditions across a wide range of typical operating temperatures.
This will improve consumer confidence in manufacturers, according to the UK Department for Transport. It adds that the UK will be working to ensure that the new rules for real driving emissions and type approval are robust, deliver the expected outcomes and that manufacturers behave consistently.

Real driving emissions tests to be introduced from 2017

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