The modern indication of a scandal is to add the term “gate” to the end of the problem. In the NFL, we’ve seen Deflategate, which involved Tom Brady, the New England Patriots, and deflated footballs. In 2015, the automotive world experienced the first version of Dieselgate when Volkswagen was caught using defeat devices to falsify emissions numbers of diesel-powered small cars. Are we on the verge of another diesel scandal?
Three major companies involved in the latest diesel troubles
Authorities recently conducted searches in Germany, Italy, and Hungary relating to the use of defeat devise in diesel vehicles. Reuters reports these searches are part of an investigation into diesel-powered vehicles from Suzuki. Stellantis supplied the engines in these Suzuki vehicles and Marelli made the parts for these engines. This puts these three companies in the proverbial bed together and under investigation.
How do the defeat devices help the engines?
The devices attached to the diesel engines of these Suzuki vehicles were fitted to the Italian-built engines to offer false numbers. The devices used to offer a faulty reading that shows the engine is in compliance with nitrogen oxide emissions in the EU. If this sounds familiar, it’s nearly the exact same situation facing Volkswagen only seven years ago.
Why investigate these diesel engines in three countries?
The engines in question, assembled in Hungary, Stellantis has its headquarters in Italy, and the Suzuki European headquarters is in Germany, causing the three-pronged investigation. These investigations aim to gather as much information as possible to understand whether or not the diesel engines in question had the nefarious devices.
So far, all three companies are cooperating fully with investigators.
This diesel scandal is in Europe; why should we care in the United States?
Before FCA became Stellantis in 2021, a multi-year emissions fraud probe was already underway. This probe, also reported by Reuters, involves Ram pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs in the United States. The investigation into troubles in these trucks and SUVs dates back to the VW Dieselgate scandal when federal regulators began investigating all diesel vehicles after the VW discovery.
Stellantis is close to a guilty plea of criminal conduct under the FCA name. The conduct involves nearly 100,000 diesel-powered vehicles that allegedly evaded emissions requirements. One of the FCA employees faces trial as the person responsible for misleading regulators.
Certainly, Stellantis hopes to avoid the same cost VW faced in its diesel scandal
The troubles in the United States could cost Stellantis between $250 million and $300 million, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what Volkswagen paid for its Dieselgate scandal. To date, this scandal has cost Volkswagen more than $40 billion in fines and buybacks.
Will Suzuki and Stellantis face the same troubles as VW?
If European investigators learn that Suzuki and Stellantis purposely used defeat devices in diesel engines to falsify the emissions numbers, these two automakers could face massive fines and penalties. We will learn more during the upcoming weeks and months.
If found guilty, will this scandal shake your faith in Stellantis and its brands in the United States?