European Union Empowered to Recall Vehicles Over Emission Violations

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Updated rules have granted the European Commission the ability to not only check cars for emissions compliance, but also issue recalls for those found in violation.

Previously, recalls were required to be issued by the EU member nations that initially certified the vehicles. But the European Commission claims this tactic has allowed automakers to easily circumvent regulatory mandates, making large-scale recalls slower to progress for almost a decade. Following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal in 2015, the EU ramped up efforts to consolidate regulatory powers after the United States was the one that initially busted the German automaker for cheating during pollution tests.

The European Commission will now be able to enact recalls on its own authority and fine automakers up to 30,000 euros ($35,725 USD) per vehicle. Those in broad opposition of giving Brussels additional authority have criticized the changes, while those supportive of the EU claim it will be able to deliver environmental justice more swiftly than individual nations.

According to Reuters, the European Commission will also be able revoke roadworthiness certifications. That’s likely to make the automotive industry more vulnerable to compensation claims from European customers purchasing vehicles that are later taken off the road. Rather than taking several smaller hits over a longer timeline, European manufacturers would now be subjected to one colossal lump sum. The Commission has already invested roughly €7 million into two testing labs for conducting vehicle tests.

However, individual nations will still be required to conduct tests on models already in circulation to ensure they’re eligible for continued certification. In fact, the EU suggested this will be an important aspect of uncovering vehicles utilizing defeat devices that are primarily aimed at beating preliminary emissions assessments (typically conducted in labs) but are less adept at fooling on-road appraisals.

[Images: Quinta/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Gasser Gasser on Sep 01, 2020

    Don’t forget that Boris Johnson swore to the British that belonging to the EU was costing them 350 million pounds a week which would be spent on their ailing National Health Service. That’s about $20 Billion per year, or now what Britain will probably lose in a month post Brexit. P.S. Boris, don’t ask the U.S. for a handout, we have our own problems.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Sep 03, 2020

      @Inside Looking Out Arthur Dailey, " there are always going to be some who are against universal public health "... ... after reading your post I felt compelled to tell you that MY brother-in-law, married to the older of my two sisters, is a natural-born Canadian citizen, and..... ....HE prefers the US health system over anything Canada has to offer. He's been there, done that. Less drama with the US system, less wait time, far greater selection of doctors and specialists, and when he needs medical checkups or attention, he actually travels from Vancouver, BC, to the Seattle/Poulsbo/Desmoines area to see their doctor. I think you missed the boat with your conclusion, and fell into the water with your observation. You're in over your head and sinking. People from all over the world travel to the Mayo Clinic (in Scottsdale and elsewhere) for the better treatment and surgeries. Hell, the Mayo and other centers will even treat a patient if they do not have insurance coverage. Some people, given up for dead in Canada, undergo treatment at US medical centers and live many, many more decades after that. My brother-in-law was one of those given up for dead. But he is still alive and well today. I hope you or yours will NEVER need real-serious medical services because you can't get that under a Universal Health Care system, anywhere. Under such a system it is less expensive to let a patient die than to fork over $50-$60K for surgery and/or treatments.

  • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Sep 02, 2020

    It is about time that the EU[SSR] collapses. In order for that to happen, Germany needs to collapse. Merkel is doing a good job in that regard.

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    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 02, 2020

      @karonetwentyc There cannot be EUSSR without Russia. Russia must join EU first. Otherwise it may not collapse.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.