Emissions cheating: Top automakers accused of rigging standard levels

Emission cheat scandals have been making rounds since 2015 when Volkswagen's Dieselgate broke. Here's a look at the Volkswagen emissions scandal and similar ones that rocked the auto market

Rupert Stadler, the Chief Executive of German carmaker Audi, was arrested on Monday in connection with an investigation into the diesel emissions scandal. The arrest comes just after Germany imposed a $1.2 billion penalty on Volkswagen for rigging diesel engine emissions worldwide.
In 2015, German car giant Volkswagen first admitted that it had rigged 11 million car engines to cheat on emissions tests worldwide. Diesel cars by Volkswagen and its Audi subsidiary cheated on clean air rules with software that made emissions look less toxic than they actually were.
The scandal has so far cost Volkswagen more than $30.35 billion in fines, compensation and buybacks, mainly in the United States. The company announced a net loss of nearly $1.87 billion in 2015, its first in 20 years, after setting aside billions to cover the costs of the Dieselgate. But it returned to the black in 2016, with a net profit of $6 billion, followed by $13.25 billion in 2017. It still faces lawsuits from thousands of car buyers and investors around the world, including Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Poland.
Beginning with the VW scandal, vehicles built by a wide range of car makers were found to emit higher levels of pollution under real world driving conditions. In 2018, Volkswagen's Porsche sports car division was accused of emissions cheat. Germany's state regulator has now asked Porsche to recall about 60,000 diesel-engined Cayenne and Macan sport utility vehicles.


In June this year, Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe were found to contain unauthorised emissions-cheating software. The German transport ministry has ordered to recall 774,000 cars already in the stores for sale. The main vehicles in question include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Vito, and GLC with diesel engines.
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler too was found to be cheating on US emissions tests for quite a while now. In 2016, a number of customers even sued the automaker, claiming their cars had sneaky software, similar to Volkswagen's, that tricked testers.

Ford and supplier Bosch were accused of faulty emissions in over a half million of its heavy-duty trucks sold with diesel engines between 2011 and 2017.  According to news reports, nitrous oxide emissions were found to be as high as 50 times the permissible limit.
In January 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was accused of using faulty software in over 100,000 models in 2014, 2015, and 2016, including Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee trucks, which allowed them to exceed NOx pollution limits undetected by the usual testing methods.

In May 2016, Japanese car major Nissan was accused of using a defeat device for manipulating emissions data for the British-built Nissan Qashqai. In March 2017, Nissan vehicles tested by consumer association were found to be producing more NOx as per the European emission standards.
India has its own set of emission norms and some of them are known to fudge data to ensure product roll into the market. In 13 major cities, Bharat Stage IV emission norms have been in place since April 2010. It was enforced for entire country in April 2017. In 2016, the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.
In July 2013, General Motors India announced a recall of over 1.14 lakh Chevrolet Taveras - one of the largest vehicle recalls in India that time - manufactured between 2005 and 2013 for failing to meet emission norms.  Before announcing the recall, GM India had admitted in a letter to the government that its internal probe has found that the cars violated emission norms. The GM scandal alarmed the government but unfortunately no penalty was imposed. GM eventually pulled out of India in 2017.