Dan Gilmore / Nov. 12, 2015

Germany's Emissions Blitzkrieg

KBA is protecting Volkswagen by emitting more hot air.

The German agency tasked with regulating that nation’s automobiles announced Wednesday that it was investigating 23 automobile brands for emission cheating, two of them American-based Ford and GM. The announcement comes two months after news broke that the EPA found software on Volkswagen diesel cars designed to fool emission tests.

Out of 50 models being tested by Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), Germany’s auto regulator, KBA said it has finished testing about two-thirds of them. “Since the end of September KBA has been investigating whether further manipulation of emissions, of nitrogen oxides in particular, is taking place in the market,” said KBA in a statement in German, according to translation by the magazine Foreign Policy. Because it is announcing its investigation before it has its results, it appears that KBA is trying to lighten the pressure Germany’s car manufacturer is facing over its cheating cars. In other words, KBA is making the situation political. It matters not if the charges stick — if GM’s Chevrolet Cruze also spews nitrogen oxide at many times the limit set by the EPA — the seriousness of the accusation is enough of a cloud. KBA is protecting Volkswagen by emitting more hot air.

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