Car maker Nissan has been criticised by the UK’s vehicle standards authority after saying it would not apply a modification to versions of its Qashqai found to emit excessive levels of pollution.
Testing by the DVSA found that certain diesel versions of the best-selling SUV emitted up to 17 times more NOx in real-world use than new EU limits permit.
However, the firm has said it will not take steps to reduce the emissions from affected cars, claiming that it has already made changes to the model and wants to focus its energy on developing cleaner new models.
The DVSA has branded this “unacceptable”, pointing out that Nissan’s partner Renault has said it will apply updates to its Kadjar, which uses the same diesel engine as the Qashqai.
In its latest Vehicle Market Surveillance Unit report the DVSA reveals that the Qashqai passed the emissions standards of the NEDC tests under which it was approved but failed under the more stringent WLTP and RDE tests.
Since September 2018 new cars have been required to meet lab-tested WLTP standards and from this September will also have to comply with limits set for on-road RDE testing.
Responding to the report Nissan said that a newer version of the Qashqai was launched in summer 2018 that uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to improve the car’s emissions performance and that it “could not further improve the emissions on this technology”.
It also said it was “not possible to do a recalibration for existing customers” as it wants to “focus energy and resources on the new models”.
The DVSA said: “We find Nissan’s approach on addressing these extremely high emitting vehicles unacceptable as we are aware that Renault who uses a similar engine in the Kadjar, issued a voluntary offer to customers visiting a Renault dealership to implement a NOx upgrade.
Responding to the DVSA’s comments in a statement, Nissan said: “All Nissan vehicles fully comply with today’s emissions legislation. This report, which looks at the variation between lab and ‘real world’ conditions, shows variances for some brands tested.
“We support the new RDE tests that have now been adopted and have introduced a range of drivetrains to meet them. We will continue to develop affordable and innovative solutions to reduce our impact on the environment, such as our Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 electric vehicles.”
The Market Surveillance Unit was set up in the wake of the VW diesel scandal to ensure vehicles comply with relevant legal obligations on emissions.
Ian Bartlett, head of the DVSA’s Vehicle Safety Branch said: “The DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
“ Vehicles which create excess emissions are a danger to us all.
“The Market Surveillance Unit plays an important role in checking that vehicles placed on the UK market fully comply with relevant emissions standards.
“We will continue to press manufacturers to get it right.”