monday, 27 june of 2016

Nissan Sues South Korea Over Emissions-Cheating Accusations

Nissan Motor Co.’s South Korean unit has filed a lawsuit over the Korean’s government’s claims that the Japanese auto maker rigged emissions tests on its Qashqai diesel sport-utility vehicles.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment fined Nissan 340 million won ($290,122) for using so-called defeat devices in hundreds of the SUVs imported and sold in the country. It ordered the recall of more than 800 Qashqai vehicles sold in Korea and asked prosecutors to indict the head of Nissan’s Korean operations, Takehiko Kikuchi, for violating the country’s emissions law.

“There’s no change in our position that we have not and do not employ illegal defeat or cheat devices in any of the cars that we make,” said a Nissan Korea spokeswoman.

Nissan Korea said Monday it has filed the suit with the Seoul Administrative Court to dispute and nullify the accusations by the ministry. Although Nissan is suing the ministry, it has paid the fine in full, the spokeswoman said on Monday.

A ministry official in charge of the matter said the ministry has taken appropriate action and that Nissan has agreed that the Qashqai models sold in the country have technical issues that need to be addressed.

South Korea has investigated the emissions systems of 20 models made and sold by local and foreign car makers since Volkswagen AG’s emissions-cheating scandal emerged last year. During their inquiry, investigators found that the defeat device used in the Qashqai was set to switch off its exhaust-reduction system automatically under regular driving temperatures, according to the ministry.

It said the system switches off when the engine’s intake temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), much lower than the 50 degrees Celsius for other models probed by South Korea.

Nissan has argued that the setting is designed to prevent the engine from overheating.

The Qashqai SUVs probed by the Korean regulator were produced at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the U.K. using diesel engines supplied by Renault SA, a Nissan partner.

South Korea’s investigations came as Nissan said that it would spend more than $2 billion to acquire a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which admitted to falsifying fuel-economy data for 20 models sold in Japan. Two of the models were manufactured by Mitsubishi and sold under Nissan’s brand name.

(Published by The Wall Street Journal - June 26, 2016)

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