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Monday, 21 September 2015

USA: 'Defeat device' recall ordered

On 18 September, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of 482,000 diesel-powered vehicles (five different models) sold over the past five years in the USA. The EPA's statement, with a link to more information on the Notice of Violation, is here). It alleges that they contain software to detect when the vehicle was being subjected to an emissions test. This so-called 'defeat device' software is said to switch on emissions controls, which would remain inactive in normal use allowing NO2 emissions up to 40 times the permitted level.
Reports (such as the Financial Times's) say that campaign groups have long suspected that defeat devices were being used, but only now has the California Air Resources Board (CARB) detected the volation. It declined to say how it had done so.
In Europe, the testing regime is considered to be outdated and reform is taking place. In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change reported this month that average on-the-road emissions in Europe were about 35 per cent higher than the lab results advertised by manufacturers.
VW, which was said to have been given an ultimatum - explain yourself, or lose EPA certification for all your 2016 diesel models - have apologised and ordered an external investigation (Financial Times).

SOUTH KOREA: Hyundai designs leaked

A report in just-auto (reflecting a story in the Korea Herald) tells us that South Korean prosecutors have indicted 10 people for allegedly passing on design blueprints for a future car being developed by Hyundai Motor for Chinese manufacturer, BAIC Motor.

One man has been reportedly been charged with leaking 71 bumper designs, though to whom is not clear. The other people accused were working for subcontractors.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Director sentenced to 6 months for criminal cartel - News stories - GOV.UK

Director sentenced to 6 months for criminal cartel - News stories - GOV.UK: "Nigel Snee was today [14 September] sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 120 hours community service within 12 months.

The sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court followed a criminal cartel investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Mr Snee, the former Managing Director of Franklin Hodge Industries, had previously pleaded guilty to dishonestly agreeing with others to fix prices, divide up customers and rig bids between 2005 and 2012 in respect of the supply in the UK of galvanised steel tanks for water storage.

The tanks are used to store water for sprinkler systems in buildings.

Mr Snee was arrested in 2012 at the start of an investigation begun by the CMA’s predecessor, the Office of Fair Trading.

Mr Snee cooperated with the investigation and, after pleading guilty to the cartel offence in January 2014, was a witness for the CMA at the subsequent trial of two further individuals, who were acquitted in June. As is usual in such cases, the extent of Mr Snee’s cooperation was reported to the trial judge in order that it could be taken into account in his sentencing decision.

In explaining the approach to sentencing, His Honour Judge Goymer remarked that “the economic damage done by cartels is such that those involved must expect prison sentences”.

The judge indicated that his starting point in this case was that a prison sentence of 2 years was appropriate. Taking into account Mr Snee’s early guilty plea, his personal mitigation and the extent of his voluntary cooperation as a witness, the Judge reduced his sentence by the “higher end” discount of 75%, and concluded that it was appropriate in the circumstances of this case for the resulting 6 month sentence to be suspended."

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Volkswagen must sell shares in Suzuki, court decides

Volkswagen must sell shares in Suzuki, court decides: "Volkswagen must sell its shares in estranged partner Suzuki, an international court has decided, ending a nearly four-year battle over a dysfunctional alliance between the two carmakers.

The decision, by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in London, was announced by Suzuki [on 30 August] in a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange."

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Calif. dealers call Tesla referral deal illegal

Calif. dealers call Tesla referral deal illegal: "A new referral program from Tesla Motors Inc. that offers discounts to buyers referred by a Tesla owner is drawing complaints from dealers in the electric-car manufacturer’s home state of California."

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Suit against major car manufacturers alleging that keyless ignitions are deadly carbon monoxide hazards (CL&P Blog)

Suit against major car manufacturers alleging that keyless ignitions are deadly carbon monoxide hazards (CL&P Blog): "A 135-page class-action-complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles alleges that the major car manufacturers are liable because their keyless ignition systems create a carbon monoxide hazard."

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