As speculated by many observers, it’s quite difficult to believe that Volkswagen is the only company to be using a so-called ‘cheat code’ that selectively disables the exhaust emissions control systems on its diesel-powered vehicles.
The South Korean government has now confirmed that it has found evidence of a cheating device installed in the Korean market Nissan Qashqai diesel.
French news agency AFP reports that a statement by South Korea’s Ministry of Environment reads "Our investigation... concluded that Nissan illegally manipulated emission data."
Hong Dong-Kon, a ministry official handling transport-related regulations, added: "A group of auto industry experts we consulted with also agreed that this is a clear manipulation of emission data."
Tests by the Korean government showed that the Qashqai switched off its emission reduction device when the ambient temperature reached 35 degrees Celsius to stop the vehicle from overheating, whereas other cars waited until the temperature reached 50 degrees.
The ministry also said that when the Qashqai's emissions reduction device stopped working, the level of emissions was about the same or higher than the Volkswagen cars equipped with emissions-cheating software systems.
Nissan will be given 10 days to present its opinions on the Qashqai issue before Seoul officially carries out punitive measures, the environment ministry said.
So far, only the Nissan Qashqai has been implicated, and the Qashqai is not very popular in Korea so the financial consequences for Nissan will be quite limited. In the first five months of 2016, Nissan less than 900 units of the Qashqai. The ministry said that Nissan would be fined 330 million won (USD 280,000).
The news comes less than a week after Nissan announced its plan to take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, itself mired by a similar scandal in Japan when Nissan called out Mitsubishi for rigging the fuel consumption test data on Nissan minicar models produced under contract by Mitsubishi.