GM's Opel to appear before German diesel emissions panel

AP News
Posted: May 13, 2016 9:23 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The German transport ministry says General Motors' Opel division has been asked to appear before a commission looking into diesel emissions controls after an environmental group claimed two of its models are able to reduce pollution controls.

The environmental group, DUH, says it has tested Opel's Zafira and Astra models and claims they reduce pollution controls at some speeds and temperatures. DUH wants them taken off the road.

Opel says DUH's tests weren't objective or scientifically grounded, saying "our software was never designed to cheat or deceive."

Apparently referring to the computer expert who examined the software for DUH, the company said that "the isolated conclusions of a hacker do not reflect the complex interdependencies of a modern exhaust after-treatment system."

Competitor Volkswagen admitted last year to equipping cars with software that was able to limit emissions when the cars were being tested by regulators. The commission Opel will go before was set up in response to that. It is also examining issues with Fiat vehicles, the ministry said.

"The commission of inquiry has summoned Opel for next week," Ministry of Transport spokesman Ingo Strater said at the government's regular news conference.

Since the Volkswagen scandal broke out, German authorities have tested cars by other manufacturers, including Opel, and found only Volkswagen using the illegal software. But they did ask Opel and others to recall cars that exploited legal loopholes allowing high emissions.

Diesel-powered cars typically emit more pollution in everyday driving than they do in tests. European Union authorities are issuing new rules that are aimed at narrowing the gap in coming years between emissions cars make during tests and real life driving.