PSA denies any wrongdoing as report suggests it fitted emission cheat software to vehicles

11 September 2017

11 September 2017

PSA Group has denied reports that the company installed emission cheating software on 2 million vehicles, as reported in French newspaper Le Monde.

In April 2017, French prosecutors opened an investigation into the company over suspicions that it had fitted ′defeat devices’, similar to those found on Volkswagen (VW) vehicles in the US which began the Dieselgate Scandal, onto its vehicles. At the time, prosecutors claimed strong indications that PSA falsified readings in laboratory conditions and that their products could be ′dangerous for human or animal health’ prompted this development. 

PSA’s engineering chief acknowledged at the time that emissions treatment in the group’s diesels was deliberately reduced at higher temperatures to improve fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in out-of-town driving, where nitrogen oxide (NOx) output is considered less critical.

According to Le Monde, an internal PSA document obtained by DGCCRF investigators includes discussion of the need to ′make the defeat device aspect less obvious and visible.’

However, the company has released a statement, firmly denying any wrongdoing. It states: ′[The company] indicates that it has not been contacted by the judicial authorities. The group is outraged to learn that information has been provided to third parties whereas Groupe PSA has never had access to the file submitted by the DGCCRF to the public prosecutor’s office, making it impossible for the group to put forward its arguments.

′Groupe PSA has repeatedly explained its strategy regarding engine settings. This strategy is based on its customers’ use in real life. It favours low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in cities while ensuring the best NOx/CO2 balance on open roads. This situation undermines the group’s reputation and the interests of its 210,000 employees, its customers and its partners.

′The company reaffirms that it complies with regulations in every country where it operates and its vehicles have never been equipped with software or systems making it possible to detect compliance tests and to activate a pollutant treatment device that would be inactive during customer use.’

PSA also highlighted that it is the only vehicle manufacturer to have a ′total transparency approach’ to its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in real world conditions, and this will be extended to include NOx emissions by the end of 2017, with details available on its brands websites.

Le Monde’s report stated that around 2 million Euro 5 vehicles with cheating software installed were sold in France between September 2009 and September 2015, which corresponded to a ′minimum turnover’ of €34 billion. This is more than double the number of VW vehicles sold in the country with similar software, which the publication puts at around 950,000.

The French manufacturer is currently working to reduce its costs following the acquisition of Opel from General Motors, a deal which was completed in August 2017. The company is one of four vehicle manufacturers being investigated by French authorities. The others are VW, Renault and Fiat Chrysler (FCA).

Photograph courtesy of PSA Group