A South Korean court has upheld government accusations against Nissan that the carmaker used an emissions defeat device in its best-selling Qashqai SUV.
The ruling is a blow for Nissan which hoped to clear itself in the only country that has accused it of emissions cheating.
The Seoul Administrative Court ruling on Thursday said it believed Nissan used a defeat device to deactivate its emissions reduction system when the Qashqai underwent regular driving, resulting in excessive emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), toxic to human health.
Nissan said the ruling was ‘regrettable’, adding: ‘There is no change to our stance that we have not used any illegal devices in our vehicles.’
South Korea’s environment ministry halted sales of the Qashqai in the country last year, recalling 814 vehicles. The Qashqai models were produced at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland in the UK. Crucially, the 1.6-litre diesel engines are supplied by Nissan alliance partner Renault and are also used in Renault's own models – potentially opening the door to wider fines and recalls.
Meanwhile, in what may be the final straw for current diesel technology, PSA Group has been referred to French prosecutors and accused of emissions cheating. This is despite its Euro 6 diesels having costly selective catalytic reduction (SCR) as standard, which makes their vehicles much cleaner than many mass-market rivals – but perhaps still not enough.
PSA Group engineering chief Gilles Le Borgne said: ‘We are extremely surprised, even shocked by this decision.’
PSA Group is the fourth carmaker to be referred for possible prosecution by France’s consumer fraud agency, after Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which was referred only last Monday. It is a blow for the French OEM as their diesel technology had so far escaped any serious criticism following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
Le Borgne said: ‘We don’t know what more we could have done.’
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