General Motors’ Opel and Fiat Chrysler are both involved in diesel emissions scandals following German accusations and upcoming measures to be taken.
Opel has met with the German authorities in an attempt to fix the issues and according to experts, the carmaker will make face with just some warnings. The case is not the same with FCA as the Group chose to not meet with the German officials, having sent the problem to be handled in Italy.
A European Union directive claims that defeat devices are illegal with the exception made by the carmakers claiming they are not. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is actually allowed to declare their defeat devices that are necessary in order to protect the cars’ engines from unwanted damage. To make a defeat device illegal, the OEM has to be quite blatant, followed by a EU regulator naming the device illegal. If this process does not take place, OEMs will claim they do not use illegal defeat devices. And even if they are deemed illegal, these devices will most likely lead to minor penalties. However, a car that has an illegal device is in violation of its EU-wide type approval. We’ll say it: this sounds quite complicated.
Opel was searched last week for a bona-fide defeat device. Industry insiders replied that “What Opel does may look like cheating. It may be cheating. But they will get away with it.” For every possible defeat device, these experts came up with a plausible explanation, and these explanations could be actually used in a statement from Opel to be released this Friday. An example would be that Opel was accused of switching off exhaust treatment at temperatures that reached 20°C or under 30°C. Opel would claim that this was to be done to protect the engine while meeting legal requirements. The experts would agree with that but would add that exhaust tests are done between 20°C and 30°C, leaving an interval that could be taken advantage of by some carmakers in the industry.
The consulted experts all agreed that Opel would turn to bending the law as some of its technology is regarded as impressive and its explanation for every potential breach of the auto law can be accepted as plausible.