KBA finds inadmissibility in own tests in Fiat Ducato camper van emissions scandal

Probably the most relevant authority in Germany with regard to the diesel emissions scandal is the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). The KBA is the federal authority responsible for road traffic. As such, it is also responsible for checking the admissibility of vehicles. Thus, in the context of the VW emissions scandal, the KBA was the authority that was deceived in a relevant way. This is because the KBA granted VW type approvals even though a defeat device was used to deceive the authorities about the inadmissibility of certain engines. The KBA is also responsible for launching recalls and other measures in connection with inadmissible motor vehicles.

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The KBA responds to the DUH

Now the KBA has made a statement to Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) that is promising for consumers. In a letter, DUH pointed out to the KBA the results of measurements taken by DUH's Emissions Control Institute (EKI). These resulted in very strong transgressions of the permissible limit values with the nitrogen oxide output with two campers on Fiat Ducato basis. In this context, DUH called on the KBA to "take the manufacturer to task, impose sanctions and appropriate measures, and review the type approval of the vehicle models investigated."(To the full DUH cover letter)

In its response, the KBA now confirmed that its own measurements had also revealed inadmissibility in some motor homes. The KBA also assured that it had already informed the responsible type approval authority and requested it to take appropriate measures. The European Commission had also been informed. In particular, however, the KBA had begun to examine further steps itself to eliminate the inadmissibilities in the vehicles affected by the Fiat diesel scandal due to the inaction of the responsible authorities.(To the reply from the KBA)

Importance for mobile homes and their owners

This is relevant in that it provides consumers with another indication that they are at risk of harm in the Fiat diesel scandal. For example, FCA Italy S.p.A. (hereinafter: Fiat) regularly argues that, to date, consumers have not suffered any damage due to the lack of a recall or other withdrawal of registration for Fiat Ducato-based motorhomes.

In particular, Fiat relies on the fact that the Italian registration authority did not take action and that the KBA cannot act contrary to the approval by the Italian authority. In our opinion, this is not convincing for a number of reasons, especially since future intervention by the KBA cannot be ruled out. The statement of the KBA confirms this itself.

If the KBA is considering further steps and measures in the Fiat diesel scandal, this shows that the KBA does not believe that it cannot intervene either. In addition, the KBA has already carried out recalls in the past, even though type approval was available from the authority of a member state. This was the case, for example, with the recalls for the Fiat 500X for reasons of "improving emission values in real driving conditions".

This first statement by the KBA in relation to the Fiat Ducato emissions scandal in motorhomes thus makes everyone sit up and take notice. Although this does not mean that the KBA will proceed directly to recall actions and all inadmissible defeat devices in the Fiat Ducato models will be removed and replaced by more environmentally friendly hardware, the statement nevertheless provides new argumentation material against Fiat.

It also suggests that regulatory action on Fiat Ducato-based motorhomes is far from over, and that both Fiat and owners of a vehicle linked to the diesel scandal will face further inconvenience.

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