By on September 24, 2015

BMW X3

German magazine Auto Bild reported Thursday that the diesel BMW X3 exceeded by 11 times allowable limits of nitrogen oxide in a growing scandal started by Volkswagen’s admission it had cheated on emissions tests. BMW shares tumbled 5 percent Thursday morning after the news.

“All measured data suggest that this is not a VW-specific issue,” International Council on Clean Transportation Europe Managing Director Peter Mock told the German magazine.

BMW denied any deception, telling USA Today in an email that it “does not manipulate or rig any emissions tests.

“We observe the legal requirements in each country and adhere to all local testing requirements,” BMW said in a statement. “When it comes to our vehicles, there is no difference in the treatment of exhaust emissions whether they are on rollers or on the road.”BMW said it would ask ICCT “for clarification of the test they carried out.”

In its 133-page May 2014 report, researchers at West Virginia University found that a diesel model of the BMW X5 generally met or exceeded legal standards along with 13 other vehicles.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

40 Comments on “Dirty Diesel Report Sinking BMW As Volkswagen Fallout Grows...”


  • avatar
    kosmo

    A car magazine is equipped to accurately and representatively measure emission levels?

    Somehow, I think I’ll go with the WVU researchers.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskeyRiver

      I’d trust a car magazine before I’d trust any government funded research on the matter. I don’t know the environmental impact from setting 92 million dollars on fire but the EPA did just that buying furniture the last 10 years. Herman Miller and Knoll mostly. $6000 per employee for chairs and desks.

    • 0 avatar

      T&E (Transport & Environment) concluded that compliance is exception to the rule. If practically everyone is guilty, it’s like a whole school class being able to cheat on the exams because the teacher has looked the other way.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        T&E is not claiming that cars are out of compliance. It is claiming that the testing procedures are ineffective:

        “The reason for the continuing high emissions from new cars is an ineffective system for testing vehicles that deliver impressive reductions of emissions in laboratory tests but fail to replicate this performance when driven on the road.”

        The automakers are passing the tests, but the tests can be gamed. It isn’t illegal to game a test. If the test is inadequate, then the test should be changed.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The WVU study included a BMW that produced perfectly acceptable results.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The test referenced above was also commissioned by ICCT. Don’t know who actually performed it for them.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. While I don’t understand the math in the WVU report, the charts and graphs were quite clear. They showed the emissions., a line for “legal”. and the TDi was all over the graph. The X5 stayed right at the legal line.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      The WVU study’s BMW was an American-market model.

      The magazine was testing a Euro-market model.

      Rumors on the interwebs are that cheating is rampant on the Euro tests.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I was merely pointing out that the BMW performed well on ICCT’s US test.

        The cheating rumors are probably false. ICCT has been grousing about EU testing methods for years. If the emissions testing is anything like the fuel economy tests, then there is plenty of fudge factor in the EU figures. (The EU fuel economy tests produce far more optimistic results than does the EPA.) Designing a car to pass a test is not cheating; if the outcomes are not optimal, then the test is to blame.

        • 0 avatar
          pdl2dmtl

          Riiight….

          “…if the outcomes are not optimal, then the test is to blame.”

          Something like this: if the student does not pass the exam, blame the teacher…
          Smart. And next year they will lower the bar so everybody passes.

          Oh wait, they already did that.

          Or maybe you meant something else by “optimal”….

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If a car can pass a test without cheating while producing too much NOx, then the test should be changed. The idea isn’t that complicated.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Heh, heh, heh, heh. This ain’t over by a long shot. Next will be the Prius Hybrid that someone will try to rake through the mud.

    Grab the popcorn.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      You’re absolutely right, and eventually the .gov types and their anthropogenic global climate change weenies will start pissing off people who actually buy the products. I can’t wait for that to happen. All my life, the smarter-than-thou crowd has tried to shame people who buy products that consume “too much” fossil fuel. Now, they’re attempting to take away people’s choice to save a buck or two on gas. Maybe someday folks will understand that this really isn’t about cars.

      • 0 avatar

        No, they won’t. Already I see calls for taking the money that VW allocated and dedicating it to bicyclists. And it’s not about installing spikes that impale them when they ride against the traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Pete Zaitcevwill:”No, they won’t. Already I see calls for taking the money that VW allocated and dedicating it to bicyclists. And it’s not about installing spikes that impale them when they ride against the traffic.”

          Can you show where you “saw” these “calls”? And what do you have against bicycles anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      M1EK

      Funny you should bring up the Prius.

      I had to explain to my wife last night why our (Gen II) Priuses don’t have the EV button that the Gen III’s do and the Gen II’s in the rest of the world do.

      Hint: It’s because Toyota *didn’t* try to cheat California’s emissions laws, specifically the arrangement to treat Priuses as PZEV.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      How about EFI Gas engines, that are supposed to be the worst? Strangely no retesting or recalls

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      highdesertcat: “Heh, heh, heh, heh. This ain’t over by a long shot. Next will be the Prius Hybrid that someone will try to rake through the mud.”

      Hybrids like mine monitor temperatures such as the catalytic converter, and at some times when the gas engine could be shut down, will run the gas engine just to keep those temperatures high enough for clean operation. Even though doing so hurts mileage. Just the opposite approach compared to the VW fraud.

      And you think no one has tried to besmirch the Prius? What rock have you been living under? The auto chattersphere has seen no shortage of such idiocy. Hint: recall the lifetime vehicle environment impact “study” that reported a Prius has more impact than a Hummer? Total BS, of course.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I know that. I was being sarcastic because there is always some dipstick who wants to take away other people’s fahrvergneugen, driving enjoyment or driving gratification.

        If someone tries hard enough, there is always something to b!tch about.

        The WVU people had a valid point because when someone (VW) makes a claim, it should be tested. The downside is that unintended consequences may develop and more scrutiny results across the board.

        I don’t really want people to measure the emissions of MY two 5.7L vehicles because I suspect that the way I drive causes a lot more pollution than Toyota will admit to. You know, like lead-foot pedal-to-the-metal type driving. I don’t spare those horses.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    BMW is sticking its neck out by stating categorically that it didn’t install any defeat devices.

    If it actually did, that’s going to lead to major legal liability, not just for the emissions violations but for securities fraud.

    If it didn’t, then that’s more of an embarrassment for the regulators than the company. It’s perfectly possible for tests to reflect real-world results poorly without any deceit on the manufacturer’s part. Just look at the European fuel-economy tests, where regular ol’ subcompacts that everyone knows get 30-35 mpg in real-world use routinely exceed 50 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      dal, they probably did not install defeat devices like VW did. But that doesn’t mean that BMW is as clean as they claim to be.

      Testing found that the BMW method was the preferred method of treating emissions and NOx pollution. No where did it say BMW was pollution-free across the entire operating range of their diesel engines.

      The unintended consequences of VW getting caught is that now everybody with an agenda will want to jump on this bandwagon and start testing everything, like maybe the Volt, the Prius, the Cruze, and every other gas-econobox on the roads in America to see if they can be caught in a lie.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      It should be no surprise that cars are engineered to pass government tests. It’s the responsibility of the regulators to design tests that correspond to use in the real world. If they fail at this, it’s not the manufacturers’ fault. I remember Carroll Shelby saying, long ago, that exhaust emissions skyrocket when you drive harder than the EPA test cycle.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        Yeah, but most of the current scandals are related to cars that, when driven at EPA test speeds on actual streets, produce markedly different emissions than when “driven” at the same speeds in the test booth.

        Given that VW stonewalled EPA/CARB for nearly 2 years before admitting the obvious, I’m going to withhold judgement.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          The VW scandal is that they deliberately set up a special set of code in the ECU to turn on the emission controls to pass the treadmill test, then turn the controls off in off-treadmill operation. Other OEMs likely tune the standard code to pass the treadmill test, and simply don’t bother to evaluate emissions under other conditions. Indifference versus premeditation. Having said that, we can expect much more vigilant testing of off-treadmill operation in the future.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “Other OEMs likely tune the standard code to pass the treadmill test, and simply don’t bother to evaluate emissions under other conditions”

            Correct; that is exactly what I’d expect.

            Because emissions under other conditions *aren’t regulated* (in the broad sense).

            They do compliance for what they’re made to, because that’s what’s required – and because anything else is ill-defined in terms of requirements, and not very relevant.

            I think, in practice, that really meeting emissions during the various modes of the treadmill test – and not having a “cheater” mode that’s different for real use – should get you something close enough to not matter, in terms of emissions.

            After all, even if you release a bit more than the in-test limit under 95% load, vehicles are almost never under 95% load [especially for any length of time], so it doesn’t make any real difference.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      There may be technically-legal ways to pass testing without being quite as clean as intended by the regulations. If that’s the case, tweak the regulation, tell BMW (or whoever else) that they’ll receive extra scrutiny in the future, and move on.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      If they did, their executives just bought themselves a few days to dump their stock and purchase some short options.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That there’s insider trading. The SEC or its foreign equivalents would be looking pretty closely at any significant sale of BMW or Daimler-Benz stock by executives any time after the dropping of the VW news.

  • avatar
    Extra Credit

    BMW’s comments listed here and elsewhere indicate their emission controls are fully functional at all times, which is probably true. Beyond BMW’s comments, the “real world” testing indicates that BMW emission controls are optimized to pass the regulatory tests to which they will be subjected.

    I expect that (insert automotive brand here) safety systems are likewise designed to provide maximum effectiveness in the regulatory tests to which they will be subjected. Why would any brand engineer their vehicles differently?

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    That photo says that BMW has no idea how fog lights work.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      They know that fog lights are something they ‘have to have’ to sell cars, and that nobody uses them correctly.

      Cynical, perhaps, but not ignorant.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        However, if so, it doesn’t preclude them from making them capable of making them ‘right.’ They had a reason to do what they did. I don’t know what that reason is, but it certainly could be a decision-maker saying: “Oh, you don’t know how to design fog lights? Doesn’t matter, so long as they’re there.”

  • avatar
    bludragon

    This is interesting:

    “In fact just three out of 23 tested vehicles met the new standards when tested on the road. The main reason is Europe’s testing system is obsolete, allowing carmakers to use cheaper, less effective exhaust treatment systems in cars sold in Europe, according to newly released data. In contrast, diesel cars sold by the same manufacturers in the US, where limits are tighter and tests are more rigorous, have better exhaust treatment systems and produce lower emissions.”

    http://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/dont-breathe-here-tackling-air-pollution-vehicles

    The disappointing part is that there is really no information on how they obtained those results.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “Diesel gas sucks my ass!” – Adam Sandler

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Now that it’s clear Clean Diesel is a fraud unless wimpy performance is acceptable, why would anyone in the US choose diesel for a passenger car?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • schmitt trigger: Interesting that you mention galvanizing on bridges. Some time ago, walking the Brooklyn bridge, I...
  • JohnTaurus: I worry about it simply because “1990s GM Quality (or lack there of)”. My 1995 Blazer and...
  • Corey Lewis: The paint and special assembly won’t make it feel any more special to drive, and that’s the...
  • JohnTaurus: You like the car? But $5 gas will be here any day. Shouldn’t he have bought a Prius C? Oh,...
  • SCE to AUX: This takes salesman pressure to another level.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States