Friday, 17 February 2017
Nissan “disappointed” over diesel emissions
NISSAN has maintained its innocence after being found guilty of cheating emissions on cars made in its Sunderland, UK facility
The company says it is “disappointed” with a South Korean government ruling that it used devices to bypass regulations on a 1.6-litre Qashqai diesel engine.
The affected Qashqais were built at Nissan’s Sunderland factory and used engines supplied from its sister company, Renault, in France.
As a result, sales have been halted in South Korea, with a number of models recalled.
The business was first accused of malpractice last year, with Korean officials saying the company had manipulated tests on the Qashqai, which is the most successful model in the history of the Japanese firm’s Wearside factory.
At the time, Nissan, which employs nearly 7,000 workers at its sprawling Sunderland plant, strongly denounced the allegations, saying separate analysis proved it had not acted illegally.
Reacting to the ‘guilty’ verdict, a company spokesman has retained that stance, saying the engine in question complied with legislation, known as Euro 6, which aims to make cars cleaner.
He said: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision. Nissan Korea maintains it has complied with all existing regulations and did not use an unjustified arbitrary setup or an illegal defeat device in the Euro 6 Qashqai.”
Nissan is not the first car maker to be embroiled in a row over vehicle pollution levels.
Volkswagen previously admitted millions of cars worldwide could have been fitted with software to trick emission tests, while Mitsubishi Motors admitted falsifying fuel economy data on vehicles sold in Japan.
Fiat Chrysler has also denied allegations it concealed details of equipment designed to regulate diesel engine emissions.
Last week, Nissan revealed demand for vehicles primed to roll off its North-East production line had strengthened its European presence.
Officials said clamour for the Qashqai and X-Trail had pushed sales higher.
Nissan’s Sunderland plant will soon make next generation versions of the models.
It will be the first time the 4x4 X-Trail, which industry experts have tagged the Qashqai’s bigger brother, has been built for European markets outside Japan.
The business previously hinted future production of the Qashqai could hinge on Downing Street EU compensation for any export tariffs and financial hardship caused by Brexit.
However, following Government talks, boss Carlos Ghosn revealed the site will oversee a new Qashqai, as well as the X-Trail, leading some critics to claim the move was a result of a sweetheart deal.
Ghosn has since warned he will review the Wearside plant again once the workings of a Brexit deal are finalised.
It is understood work on the new Qashqai could start in 2018.
Nissan also makes the Juke hatchback and electric Leaf at Sunderland and has extended its plant to accommodate work on the luxury Infiniti Q30 and QX30 models, which represent the first time vehicles have been exported from Wearside to the US and China.
The company’s North-East factory made 507,430 cars last year, which was the second highest number in the plant’s 30-year history.