Opel under emissions suspicion as Bosch ordered to release emails

16 July 2018

Opel under emissions suspicion as Bosch ordered to release emails

16 July 2018

Germany’s transport ministry, the KBA, is conducting an official investigation into emissions technology used in three models of car made by Opel.

According to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in Germany, the KBA has found reliable evidence that exhaust gas treatment in some models of diesel car made by the PSA Group-owned brand will shut down during driving.

‘Before the outcome of this hearing, nothing conclusive can be said about the inadmissibility of the defeat device,’ a spokeswoman for the ministry said to the newspaper.

The issue affects the Insignia, Zafira and Cascada models equipped with Euro 6 engines, 10,000 of which are located in Germany. The affected models' emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) exceeded statutory limits more than tenfold, the paper added.

An Opel spokesman said in an email responding to the Bild am Sonntag report that the company had ‘already in December 2015 recognised the potential for improvement and started a technology initiative to raise transparency, credibility and efficiency for the benefit of customers.’

Opel is not the only vehicle manufacturer under investigation by the KBA, and there is as yet no firm evidence of any wrongdoing. Audi and Daimler are also being looked into, with both ordered to recall vehicles as a result.

Meanwhile, automotive supplier Bosch has been told it must hand over emails in connection with lawsuits brought by investors against Porsche, linked to the Dieselgate scandal.

Investors in two separate suits claimed that Porsche SE, which controls 52.2% of VW's voting rights, had not disclosed the financial risks of VW's emissions scandal quickly enough when it emerged in 2015.

Their lawyers demanded that Bosch provide emails concerning its business with VW.

Bosch, which makes an engine control unit used by several top automakers including VW, had protested, saying it had the right to refuse to provide evidence. The company has been embroiled in the Dieselgate scandal alongside the Volkswagen Group (VW).

The Stuttgart court ruled on Friday that Bosch had no such right in this case. Providing the emails would also not risk causing direct financial damage to the company or to anyone to whom it is accountable, it said.

Bosch said it would await the court's full written opinion and then consider how to respond. ‘The company reserves the right to file a legal challenge to protect the interests of Bosch,’ it said in a statement.

Earlier in July, Volkswagen Group lost a suit at Germany's top court seeking to ban Munich prosecutors from using a report they seized from Jones Day, the US law firm the carmaker hired to investigate the roots of its diesel-emissions scandal. The company had previously refused to publish the information.

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled the attorney-client privilege, which usually protects the work of a lawyer for a client, doesn't apply to internal investigations.

The raid of a local office of Jones Day in the Munich probe wasn't illegal, the tribunal said in a statement.