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Germany Blasts 'Uncooperative' Fiat in Emissions Probe

May 20, 2016
Fiat officials were due to hold a meeting with German authorities on Thursday to discuss the problem but cancelled the talks abruptly through a lawyer's letter.

BERLIN—Germany on Thursday blasted Fiat for its "uncooperative attitude," saying the Italian carmaker had refused to meet German officials to address questions on whether their vehicles complied with emissions regulations.

German authorities carried out a sweeping emissions probe after Volkswagen admitted last year to rigging its engines to cheat pollution tests.

Not only VW vehicles, but other major car brands, including Italy's Fiat, showed up irregularities in the probe.

BERLIN—Fiat officials were due to hold a meeting with German authorities on Thursday to discuss the problem but canceled the talks abruptly through a lawyer's letter, the transport ministry said in a statement.

The carmaker had declined to meet as it deemed Italian officials to be the only authority responsible on the question of whether their vehicles complied with existing emissions regulations, the ministry said.

"This uncooperative attitude of Fiat is completely incomprehensible," said Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt.

The probe carried out into the emission values of all vehicle models on German roads found that of 53 models tested, 22 models emitted high nitrogen oxide values and possessed a technical device that raised questions.

The models in particular have devices that, under specific temperatures, switch off systems that are meant to remove harmful nitrogen oxide from cars' exhaust.

The systems for cleaning pollutants are deactivated at low temperatures to protect engines or prevent a possible accident, as is allowed by EU regulations, but it was not clear whether some makers used this provision to bend the rules.

Dobrindt said Germany would push for the loophole to be closed, to ensure that "manufacturers can no longer hide behind the excuse of protecting engines."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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