The Netherlands files a complaint against Stellantis for ‘sjoemeldiesels’

The Dutch state is filing a complaint against Stellantis, the group that now bears responsibility for two diesel engines that would fool things during emissions tests. Another chapter in a long-running suspicion.

Specifically, it concerns two engines from the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its emissions in two different cars. First of all, the 1.6 MultiJet in the Suzuki Vitara, an engine that Suzuki purchased from FCA and delivered until 2018 in the Netherlands in the Vitara 1.6 Diesel. Then there’s the VM Motori-based 3.0 CRD that spooned FCA into the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Although multiple parties are involved in the story, FCA – now merged into Stellantis – is held responsible for it. The Dutch state is suing the group, it appears answers from State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven from Infrastructure to parliamentary questions.

At the beginning of 2020, it came to light that the RDW found ‘unauthorized emission strategies, controlled by the engine management system’ with these two cars with the two different engines. Suzuki and Jeep responded to this by performing software updates, but last September it turned out that the stocking – especially with regard to the Vitara – was not yet finished and the RDW investigated the cars further. In October, the RDW approved both cars. At the beginning of this year, there was a fuss about the fact that no further consequences were attached to the fraud. As a result of this, D66 member of parliament Van Eijs decided to put questions to the State Secretary in parliament. The State Secretary now states that a report is being filed with the Public Prosecution Service.

The fact that legal consequences can still be attached to this, possibly also for other manufacturers where tampering with emissions came to light, is related to European legislation, according to Van Veldhoven. In practice, ‘cheat diesels’ switch off systems that return exhaust gases to the engine to reduce nitrogen emissions (EGR). This does not happen during a test cycle, which means that the cars appear ‘cleaner’ than they are in practice. This state of affairs was declared illegal by the European Court of Justice in December. That is why legal opportunities are now likely to – possibly also retroactively – penalize violations of this or revoke previously issued car type approvals. According to the State Secretary, the RDW is still investigating which fraudulent diesels could possibly be subjected to legal scrutiny for this reason.

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