— Is there a BMW emissions scandal brewing? According to BMW, the answer is absolutely not. While Volkswagen attempts to cope with its scandal of cheating official emissions tests on diesel cars by using a "defeat device" to fool the machines, authorities worldwide are looking at the emissions systems of all automakers.
BMW had its name thrown into the hat when the German magazine Auto Bild reported one of BMW's X3 SUVs emitted nitrogen oxides far above European standards. Due to emissions paranoia caused by the Volkswagen scandal, BMW's stock quickly dropped and BMW came out swinging.
Saying it never uses a "defeat device" such as used by VW, BMW's head of development Klaus Froehlich said there are methods in place at BMW to block the use of such a device.
A defeat device is anything that can cause a car to register legal emissions during official testing, but out of the lab and on the road, the car will revert to emissions levels that can far exceed government standards. In the Volkswagen fiasco, the defeat device consists of very sophisticated software to fool official test machines.
Concerning using a defeat device, Froehlich said he can "flatly rule that out" because a system of continuous checks are in operation and cheating on emissions tests is a "no-go." In addition, BMW Group released a statement saying it does not rig any emissions tests and every legal requirement in each country is observed.
The automaker says the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) conducted two studies on 14 BMW vehicles and found no problems with nitrogen oxide emissions.
According to BMW, Auto Bild clarified the confusion by releasing a statement about its original article. Auto Bild said there was no evidence of emissions manipulation by BMW and the numbers mentioned in the article were from a single road test that lasted an hour. Furthermore, Auto Bild said it didn't have access to all the details, something that could cause additional confusion about the emissions readings.
BMW said it will discuss any of its testing procedures and make any vehicles available for testing at any time. About 38 percent of BMW vehicles sold worldwide in 2014 are powered by diesel engines and about 20,000 of those vehicles are in the U.S.