France clarifies response to car emissions testing revelations

Clarification: Environment Ministry formally denies Financial Times’ assertions regarding report by Commission on Automobile Pollution


1. An inquiry was launched by the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control regarding the assessment of anomalies observed, as stated in September 2015: in this framework, the manufacturers’ practices are being examined and may be the focus of appropriate follow-up in the event of fraud.

2. The Commission’s report reproduces every single result obtained for the 86 vehicles tested. The aim of the commission established in October 2015 was to produce transparent data on the pollution tests in real situations. The information cited during the hearings, and the observations made, are presented in the annexes for each manufacturer (see pages 49 and 50 for the observations relating to the Captur vehicle, cited in the press, and the measures taken).

3. Action has already been taken to increase the actual reduction in vehicle emissions, in accordance with the commission’s recommendations, in particular:

a. To improve the environmental performance of vehicles currently on the market: The Minister demanded improvement plans for the French vehicles concerned and is ensuring their implementation is followed up.

b. To anticipate regulatory changes: for the approval of new types of vehicle, the Ministry – the relevant approval authority – already checks anti-pollution performance in real driving situations.

c. To act quickly to change the European regulatory framework: the Minister has on several occasions lent her support and asked the European Commission for even more ambitious measures, particularly an increase in market surveillance checks.

d. To increase technical testing for vehicles: Decree No. 2016-812 of 17 June 2016, issued in accordance with the Energy Transition Act, provides for trialling a more extensive pollutant emissions test during technical testing, with a view to this being widespread in 2019. This will be a European first.

e. To encourage the purchasing of low-emission vehicles: car taxation must continue to be developed to ensure that diesel fuel is not given an economic advantage; measures to this effect were taken in the 2016 Finance Act and the Minister will propose measures for the 2017 Finance Act.

f. To better inform consumers: the Minister supports actual vehicle emissions being displayed when vehicles are sold and will therefore adopt positions to this effect as part of the future revision of the European vehicle-labelling directive.

4. France is the only country to have set up an open, independent commission in the wake of the revelations concerning Volkswagen, testing the makes of car which are present on the French market.

5. The commission will hold a meeting in a few weeks’ time to which The Financial Times will be invited.

Link to the report made public on 29 July 2016:

http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Rapport_Commission_independante.pdf

Published on 25/08/2016

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