Prosecutors in Germany, Italy and Hungary have conducted raids related to the use of illegal defeat devices that provided rigged emissions readings to comply with European Union regulations in Suzuki diesel vehicles.
In addition to Suzuki, Fiat Chrysler (now under the umbrella of Stellantis) and Japanese parts maker Marelli are also under investigation. Bear in mind, Suzuki formed an alliance with Fiat to make diesel engines in Asia in 2005. It then expanded the agreement to buy engines from Fiat in Hungary in 2011.
Business premises of the companies involved in Heidelberg, Germany, Corbetta, Italy and Esztergom, Hungary, were searched. As per reports, prosecutors have seized communication data, software and planning documents. The searches are part of a coordinated action by Eurojust, Europe’s agency for criminal justice cooperation. According to the agency:
“The devices were allegedly fitted in the Italian-built diesel engines of large numbers of cars, giving the impression that the vehicles’ nitrogen oxide emissions were in line with EU regulations.”
A Suzuki spokesperson said their company and local management are cooperating with the investigating authorities. Regulators across the world have been testing diesel models since Volkswagen Group admitted in 2015 that it used illegal software to cheat U.S. emissions tests. However this isn’t the first time a Japanese automaker has been found guilty in falsifying emissions data. Mitsubishi admitted in 2016 to using favorable data for its cars to exaggerate fuel economy. Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha admitted in 2018 to conducting improper fuel-economy inspections. Nissan has also been engaged multiple times in falsifying emissions and fuel economy data scandal.
Recently, another Japanese automaker Hino which is a subsidiary of Toyota has been found guilty of years long use of fraudulent emissions data. This was discovered after an internal investigation into its pre-shipment inspection of vehicles for the domestic market after discovering malpractice in the certification of engines produced for the North American market.
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