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Opel denies reports of emissions cheating

2016-01-20 14:57

EMISSIONS SCANDAL: German automaker Opel denied any wrongdoing after a Belgian newspaper said the firm modified emissions data in their 1.6 litre diesel engines. Image: AP / Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Frankfurt, Germany - German automaker Opel, a unit of US giant General Motors, rejected on Tuesday (January 19) a media report which accused it of manipulating the software of the engine of one of its diesel models.

The company said in a statement: "Opel clearly rejects the allegations. It is not true that Opel dealers installed a modified software into the 1.6-litre diesel engine of the Zafira MPV which changes the emissions behaviour of the vehicle." 

Cheating emissions

On Monday, the Belgian broadcaster VRT had reported on its website that Opel had been secretly modifying the emissions performance of its cars using unexplained software updates since the Volkswagen pollution-cheating scandal erupted in September.

Automakers are currently under scrutiny following the revelation in September 2015 that VW installed so-called defeat devices in 11-milllion diesel vehicles worldwide aimed at cheating emissions regulations.

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French rival Renault said Tuesday it was recalling thousands of vehicles to make engine tweaks as the French automaker grapples with emission levels found to exceed anti-pollution norms in some of its cars.

According to VRT, the level of the Opel cars' emission of nitrogen oxides was originally much higher than EU limits. But following a software update carried out by a local dealership alongside a routine service, the cars' emissions performance improved, the broadcaster claimed.

The service update carried out on the Zafira model "had nothing to do with a change in the emissions values," Opel insisted, without specifying what the update was for.

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