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Does Every Automaker Have a Diesel Scandal?

BY: Alex Perrone


Mechanic, checking the exhaust fumes of a diesel fuelled passenger car for emission gasses, such as carbon dioxide.

If you’ve been following ShopTalk, you’ve probably noticed we’ve been covered one of the many lawsuits concerning automakers and diesel emissions testing. Just last month there was a widely reported class-action lawsuit against GM (General Motors) over major allegations about emissions from the Chevy Cruze diesels in the US. Of course that turned out to be just ONE of the many legal actions in recent weeks and months week over various emissions situations from various automakers. Today on Shoptalk, we’ve compiled a run down:



When it was made, GM conceived the Chevy Cruze Diesel to challenge VW’s presumed dominance of the diesel market.GM then brought the 2.0-liter diesel engine over from Europe to the US market and claimed that the US model was even cleaner here than it was there. In fact, Mike Siegrist, GM’s chief engineer behind the US version of the diesel engine, specifically told the press that the new engine has better NOx control.

What ended up happening was that like VW, they too were sued for allegedly pulling the same dirty cheats and excess NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) emissions.

According to the Seattle-based law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, GM’s diesel mill uses emissions-cheating software just like VW does, actually ends up delivering more-than-allowed NOx to escape the tailpipe. This lawsuit is asking GM to pay all Cruze Diesel owners back the $2,000 premium they paid for their cars as well as more for punitive damages.

GM denies these allegations, with a representative saying , “These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves. GM believes the Chevrolet Cruze turbo diesel complies with all US EPA and CARB emissions regulations.” (AutoBlog)




In Nissan’s case, things are a little different. While they too were accused of lying about the emissions from the diesel-powered Qashqai, they are suing South Korea for alleging as such.

The South Korean environment ministry fined Nissan 340 million won ($290,000) last month and proceeded to order a recall of more than 800 Qashqai vehicles sold, before promptly accusing the Japanese automaker of using a similar so-called defeat device to VW in the Qashqai model.

A Nissan spokesperson gave the following statement to Automotive News that: “We have filed the lawsuit to dispute the ministry’s accusations.

At the same time, the ministry has also filed a complaint with prosecutors against Nissan Korea and president Takehiko Kikuchi, with the charge of violating an environment law.

“We believe that we have taken appropriate legal action,” a ministry official said (Automotive News).



Finally we come full circle to the biggest emission scandal at the moment: Norway, has filed a complaint against VW over its on-going emissions scandal. This is the biggest one VW is facing (they are being sued all over), which might cost the automaker at least $10 billion in the US alone. This complaint was specifically filed by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, VW’s largest shareholder, which is worth $850-billion according to Automotive News.


Meanwhile in Korea, a VW executive was actually arrested for potentially breaking the country’s environmental laws for manipulating emissions test results. At the time VW attempted to import two dozen models and needed to pass the emissions testing but VW allegedly forged documents according to Automotive News reports. South Korea had conducted tests on 20 diesel vehicles made by various automakers, including Nissan after it had found Volkswagen AG may have  manipulated emissions of some vehicles sold in the country.

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