Volkswagen not alone in manipulating emissions - Berlin

German government orders almost all car companies to make changes to engines

This is the firt time Germany has hit back at notion Volkswagen was a lone emissions dodger. Photograph: AP

This is the firt time Germany has hit back at notion Volkswagen was a lone emissions dodger. Photograph: AP


Volkswagen is first among equals in the car industry when it comes to manipulating emissions to seem more environmentally friendly, according to German media reports.

Berlin’s federal transport ministry has ordered almost all of the car industry’s major players - German and foreign-owned - to make changes to their motors to reduce the levels of hazardous emissions.

An ongoing German investigation has reportedly revealed levels of nitrogen oxide more than 50 times the legal limit, with almost all major car brand engines designed to filtering noxious fumes filtering to almost zero at low temperatures.

It marks the first time that Berlin has hit back at claims that VW was a lone player in manipulating emissions, seven months after a US investigation began into VW’s so-called “defeat” devices.

Berlin has ordered all major car companies to make changes to their engines -- including US-owned Ford and Opel as well as Renault, Peugeot, Fiat. Germany’s VW is also on Berlin’s hit list, along with BMW and Daimler - maker of Mercedes.

“We couldn’t have imagined such a scale,” said an unnamed government official to the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily.

Actual emissions

Germany’s federal motor authority (KBA) is currently investigating the actual emissions of all major car brands when out on the road, and how they differ from data produced by manufacturers from test situations.

After being caught by US environmental authorities last September, VW, Europe’s largest automobile company, admitted it had manipulated about 11 million diesel engines including VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands.

The US federal trade commission alleges that the manipulation was part of a corporate strategy to sell more cars in the US on the basis of fraudulent green claims The US investigation alarmed the German government and industry officials alike, with many insisting that VW had been targeted by Washington over a widespread industry practice.