By on May 16, 2016

2014_Nissan_Qashqai_Right_Side

It’s nowhere near the scale of the Volkswagen debacle, but Nissan is in hot water with the South Korean government over dodgy emissions from its diesel SUV.

That country’s environment ministry accuses Nissan of using a “defeat device” to disable the emissions controls on its UK-built Qashqai SUV, Automotive News reports.

The device allegedly turns off the vehicle’s exhaust reduction system at normal operating temperatures, a claim the automaker denies.

“Nissan has not and does not employ illegal defeat or cheat devices in any of the cars that we make,” said the automaker in a statement, adding that European Union regulators have cleared the model of any emissions wrongdoing.

The Qashqai is an overseas model related to the Rogue, offered with gasoline and 1.5 and 1.6-liter diesel engines. It came under scrutiny from the South Korean government after Volkswagen’s diesel shenanigans became public.

A total of 20 diesel models were tested in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal, and the Qashqai’s results raised red flags. The environment ministry leveled a $279,920 fine at Nissan and ordered a recall of the 814 Qashqai vehicles sold in the country.

The automaker has 100 days to dispute the charge, but hasn’t made a decision yet.

Nissan’s bad news day is just the latest in a string of emissions and fuel economy-related controversies plaguing automakers around the world. The most recent, Mitsubishi’s claim that it fudged mileage figures on Japanese market vehicles since 1991, helped push that company’s share prices so low that Nissan couldn’t not buy a 34 percent controlling stake last week.

For now, the Nissan controversy seems limited in scope, meaning the damage to its reputation could be fleeting, if it registers at all.

Speaking to Reuters, Japanese auto analyst Koji Endo said, “It’s too early to judge in terms of what the impact on the brand is.”

[Image: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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