Sunday, 15 January 2017

Cummins distances itself from FCA fall-out

As shares in Renault fell sharply late last week following reports that French prosecutors are investigating the carmaker over possible diesel emissions claims, Cummins Inc. has become the latest manufacturer to distance itself from the vehicle emissions scandal.
The UK Government is urgently demanding answers from US officials over accusations that Fiat Chrysler Automotive's (FCA) vehicles could be violating pollution laws.
Meanwhile, Indiana-based Cummins, which has engine and exhaust manufacturing plants in Darlington, UK, said it does not supply engines for the Fiat Chrysler vehicles that are discussed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Notice of Violation issued, nor was Cummins named.
A spokesman said: “Cummins does not use defeat devices and is committed to meeting emissions standards. Cummins claims it has “a long history” of working transparently and collaboratively with regulators to develop and meet emissions requirements. Some may dare to question this ‘transparency’.
In the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) said it has contacted the US EPA over claims Fiat Chrysler Automotive failed to disclose software in some of its diesel vehicles that allows them to emit more pollution than permitted.
A DfT spokesman said: “Our priority is to protect the interests of UK consumers and we will also be seeking information from the manufacturer regarding vehicles in the UK market. The department’s new Market Surveillance Unit has the ability to test these vehicles if necessary.”
Environmental Audit Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling must reveal what the DfT knew about Fiat Chrysler Automotive's vehicles when they were tested in the UK, given that the European Commission is taking action against the UK over its failure to disclose all technical information gathered in its investigation of the Volkswagen scandal.

Ms Creagh accused the Government of being “too slow” to act compared with the US, “where six executives... were named, and a description of exactly what happened over the past ten years with these cheat devices is now in the public domain”. This was denied by the car maker in this week’s update.


Alan Bunting said...

Auto Industry Newsletter is quite right to 'dare to question the transparency' claimed by Cummins in its assertion that it has 'a long history' of collaborating with regulators in meeting diesel emissions legislation.
Just how long is that history? Nineteen years ago, in 1998, Cummins was one of seven diesel makers in the US found guilty of what was then known as 'cycle beating' - another name for what VW was practising 17 or so years later and which FCA and Renault are now being accused of. In that earlier cycle-beating scandal, real life NOx levels were found to be typically three times the legal, and certified, limits.
It resulted in the US Department of Justice imposing fines of some $1 billion on those seven manufacturers collectively.

Alan Bunting said...

A further comment worth making is that the earlier NOx emissions scandal, because it affected mainly truck and bus - rather than passenger car and SUV - makers, probably went largely unnoticed by the American public and the popular media. It is therefore possible that VW, Fiat and Renault, none of them seriously involved in marketing diesel cars in the US at the time, have - from their European perspectives - been barely aware of the ructions it caused and the accompanying financial penalties for engine manufacturers.