The Groupe PSA, which includes Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, and Vauxhall, has had its hands full after acquiring Opel and Vauxhall. The transition hasn’t been as smooth as expected and now the company is facing legacy emission problems after a fiery French newspaper revelation.
Groupe PSA Battles Emissions Problems With EVs
When Groupe PSA brought Opel and Vauxhall into the fold, many wondered how it would contain any legacy emission problems within its own ranks and from the two additions. The transition is turning out to be a lot more than the embattled group originally imagined.
To put things into perspective, Groupe PSA was close to bankruptcy a few years ago. At the 11th hour, it pulled through to a healthier financial position. But then, it quickly bought in Opel and Vauxhall, raising questions.
Now, a damning report from the French DGCCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes) anti-fraud agency said the group was intent on selling diesel engines that didn’t meet emissions norms. The story broke out in the French newspaper Le Monde on Friday and PSA Groupe quickly denied it, according to France 24. I was not able to find the original story in the newspaper, which could mean enough pressure was put on the newspaper to withdraw the article or modify it.
Europe Also Struggles To Force Carmakers To Electrify
The news comes after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party received backlash last election. To make matters worse, the VW group was caught pressuring the German government to lower emissions standards again.
VW CEO Diess said: “Diess acknowledges German car industry has a 50% probability of staying at the top.” However, he falls short on the responsibility part. Instead, he said that creating higher emissions reduction targets put 100,000 jobs at risk in VW — but followed that he was not spreading fear.
Still, turning to governments to protect companies’ interest is the wrong message to send after a scandal still fresh with the public. It mostly gives the impression VW can’t handle changes, something any carmaker needs to avoid these days. You can read an article in German here, and in English here, here, and here — there will be more to follow on that soon.
When Will The Diesel Scandal Be Over?
Apparently, not yet as other carmakers shouldn’t rejoice too soon of VW’s and now Peugeot’s emission problems, if found true in the latter’s case. The DGCCRF is also looking into allegations surrounding Volkswagen and Fiat-Chrysler.
According to France 24, Le Monde says the DGCCRF report “identified 1.9 million diesel vehicles sold by PSA in France between September 2009 and September 2015 ‘with motors that function using fraudulent strategies’.” PSA could face fines up to €5 billion ($6.0 billion). Groupe PSA defended itself by saying: “vehicles have never been equipped with software or systems making it possible to detect compliance tests and to activate a pollutant treatment device that would be inactive during customer use.”
And The Solution Is? … EVs Now!
Who would have thought in 2008 that EVs were the answer? Oh, yes, all of us, tongue-in-cheek. The Peugeot PSA Groupe announced that the next generation of the Citroen C4 will be electric by 2020 with a 50 kWh to a 60 kWh battery pack. The group plans to compete with Volkswagen’s electric ID.
In the end, it seems that what motivates giant corporations to make the right decision in line with society’s best interest is not to do the “right thing” nor to be part of the solution, but how much money they stand to lose by pursuing a given direction. I’m aware I’m preaching to the choir, but I still maintain that if anyone wants to see which carmaker will survive in the near future, we just need to read the mission statement and how it compares with pure EV makers, such as Tesla.
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