What does Nissan say about the allegations?
We have recently written to Nissan Motor (GB) Limited (‘Nissan’) raising concerns about the emissions of its Nissan Qashqai. In our letters we have noted concerns that the Nissan Qashqai, and other Nissan petrol and diesel vehicles, may employ unlawful defeat devices which enable the vehicles to pass regulatory approval emissions tests, while also allowing the vehicles to emit many times the regulated emissions when driven in normal conditions, or in normal use. Click here to read more about such discrepancies.
Our correspondence highlighted a 2017 report compiled by the Market Surveillance Unit (‘MSU’) of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (part of the Department for Transport), obtained by a Freedom of Information request made by this firm, which indicates that the Nissan Qashqai emits up to 10 times the regulated limits outside of approval test conditions.
We have highlighted to Nissan the definition of a defeat device as found in the Regulations:
“‘defeat device’ means any element of design which senses temperature, vehicle speed, engine speed (RPM), transmission gear, manifold vacuum or any other parameter for the purpose of activating, modulating, delaying or deactivating the operation of any part of the emission control system, that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system under conditions which may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal vehicle operation and use.”
The MSU report suggests that the Qashqai is not equipped so as to enable it to comply with emissions regulations when driven in normal use.
We have further referred Nissan to the terms of the Regulations which prohibit the use of defeat devices, other than in circumstances where (a) they are justified in terms of protecting the engine against damage or accident and for safe operation of the vehicle, (b) the device does not function beyond the requirements of engine starting, or (c) the conditions are substantially included in the test procedures for verifying evaporative emissions and average tailpipe emissions.
In addition, we note the recent Opinion of the Advocate General which found in respect of defeat devices, such as those we allege are employed by Nissan, that only immediate risks of damage which affect the reliability of the engine and cause that vehicle to present a real danger when it is driven may justify the presence of a defeat device.
Accordingly, we have put our clients’ case to Nissan, which is that the use of thermal windows which disable emission control systems in conditions which may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal vehicle operation (for example, at temperatures below 17 degrees centigrade) amounts to the use of a defeat device.
Nissan has denied the allegations.
In response to our correspondence, Nissan has requested that we publish the following statement:
“Nissan strongly refutes these claims. Nissan has not and does not employ defeat devices in any of the cars that we make, and all Nissan vehicles fully comply with applicable emissions legislation. The initial report from 2017, which looked at the variation between lab and real world conditions, showed variances for most brands involved. It also stated that the Nissan tested complied with all required regulatory limits. Emissions standards have evolved since 2017, and we have introduced a new range of powertrains to meet them.”
Click here to learn more about the claims we are investigating.