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Italy to Germany: Fiat’s OK

by David Zatz on

Another battle for public opinion in the war over diesel emissions has ended, at least in the lab, as Fiat Chrysler’s diesel engines passed Italian tests, according to Reuters.

After Volkswagen’s diesels, used by Audi, Skoda, Porsche, and Volkswagen itself, were discovered to have illegal “cheat” software — and to have had it for years — Germany and Volkswagen have been on a public-relations offensive. The steps taken so far include:

  • Claiming the cheats did not exist
  • Saying the cheats were limited in scope and put in place by “rogue” engineers
  • Claiming only a few people knew about them
  • Staging an apparently “pretend” investigation
  • Claiming that “everyone does it.”

The German transport minister called Sergio Marchionne in for a meeting, an unprecedented act since the EU has emissions testing done by the automakers’ home countries, a policy which may have been naïve but remains in place.  Mr. Marchionne agreed to the meeting at first, but then cancelled it, with the full support of Italian authorities.

The Italian government re-tested Fiat diesels at the request of the German government, which claimed that the 500X shut off emissions systems illegally.  Italy’s tests showed that Fiats did indeed comply with existing laws while on the road. (EU laws have been criticized for providing too many loopholes for automakers.)

The Italian transport minister was quoted as saying that “There were no illegal devices found on diesel models by other carmakers except for those Volkswagen models…”

Volkswagen sales have suffered since the scandal, but most customers do not appear to be aware of the fact that Audi, Porsche, and Skoda all use the same engines and are part of the same company.

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