When information first broke out that Volkswagen was using illegal software to fool emission testing equipment on their diesel vehicles, questions arose of whether or not other automakers are doing the same thing.
Belgian news site VRT News alleges that Opel is secretly updating the emission control software in the Zafira 1.6 diesel by saying it's only a software update. This vehicle has been the target of various environmental groups as being one of the dirtiest vehicles.
VRT News tested two Zafiras - with and without the update - and found the update cut emissions by more than half in one and by three-quarters in another.
In their report, VRT News said dealers originally acknowledged the update was for cutting back on emissions. But later footage taken by hidden camera shows dealers aren't admitting the update is for emissions.
Opel has issued a statement this week strongly denying they changing the emission levels, saying the update in question has nothing to do with adjusting emissions.
Source: VRT News, Opel
Press Release is on Page 2
Statement on claims of VRT News, Belgium
Rüsselsheim. Opel clearly rejects the claim of VRT News that Opel dealers have been modifying software in the Zafira Tourer 1.6 diesel that changes the emission behavior of these vehicles. 15-P-044, the service update mentioned, has nothing to do with changing emission levels. In addition, no other recalls to achieve better emission values have been launched in 2015. Service update 15-P-044 has been discussed with the German Type Approval Authority KBA.
The testing of vehicle emissions is a very complex topic. The data provided by “Emissions Analytics” does not give us enough information on, for example, their NEDC test execution and RDE tests to understand their results fully. We also need more information on the history of the test vehicle itself. “Emissions Analytics” admit in their report that their tests might deviate from regulated tests.
As highlighted many times in recent months, we reaffirm that we do not deploy any software that recognizes if the car is undergoing an exhaust emissions test. In addition, Opel announced in December that the company is voluntarily taking the next step to meet future emissions guidelines, both on CO2 and NOx. From mid-summer 2016, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, fuel consumption figures recorded under the WLTP (“Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure”) cycle will also be published. In addition, Opel engineers have recently started working on an initiative to implement NOx emission improvements on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications. This is a voluntary and early improvement towards the so-called RDE (Real Driving Emissions) legislation that goes into effect in 2017. Opel puts its focus on the customer and on ensuring clarity and transparency.