back to article Nissan 'fesses up to fudging emissions data

Nissan, last year accused by UK consumer magazine Which? of faking emissions data, has admitted its own “dieselgate”. The Which? investigation in March 2017 claimed Nissan's X-Trail 1.6 litre engine produced “13 times as much NOx as the Euro 6 limit”. The carmaker instituted an internal review, and in September 2017 found it …

  1. Doctor Evil

    Holy carp!

    Time to unload the old X-Trail before everyone hears about this!

    1. Andy 97

      Re: Holy carp!

      Blimey, what a nightmare.

      I wonder if Renault has anything to worry about too?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        Nah, Renault hardly knows how to make cars, let alone measure things properly, so cheating ? Totally incapable of that because not competent enough.

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

          Renault and Nissan are in an alliance now; this clearly shows on new Nissan cars as minor things tend to go wrong from new.

          Avoid the pair of 'em.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Holy carp!

        "I wonder if Renault has anything to worry about too?"

        AFAIK the diesel engines Nissan use are Renault engines. So I think they'll be under the spotlight soon enough.

        And, as an aside, the electronics on Nissan's are also French. So buyer beware.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Holy carp!

          And, as an aside, the electronics on Nissan's are also French

          Could be worse - they could be Italian..

          Fine when the sun shines but gives up at the first sight of rain - much like old British electrics did)

          1. RubberJohnny

            Re: Holy carp!

            Could be worse - they could be Italian..

            Fine when the sun shines but gives up at the first sight of rain - much like old British electrics did)

            How is life back in 1983?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1.6 litre!

    Is that the starter motor?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Go

      Re: 1.6 litre!

      RTFM! Everyone knows the 1.6 litre engine is used for cars that only ever travel downhill.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1.6 litre!

        so... what makes my 1.1 litre then? Only travels in freefall (when pushed)?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1.6 litre!

      "Is that the starter motor?"

      No, it is the mighty powerplant for an offroad car meant to hold up to seven passengers. Yeah, seven in Japan maybe. If they are school girls.

      1. Solarflare
        Joke

        Re: 1.6 litre!

        And tonight on "Spot The Americans!"...

        Yes guys, outside of your borders people worked out that you can get the same amount of power from 1/4 of the size of engine if you build it properly :)

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          Yup...always amazes me that US vehicles can have a 92 litre engine and still only produce 12bhp and are only good in a straight line...

          Yes, I poke fun, but Europe and well most of the rest of the world can produce excellent engines these days, emissions cheating aside, that are both low-capacity (by traditional standards) and high power.

          I recently had a Honda Civic - it was either a 1.0 or 1.2l petrol turbo engine and it went like the proverbial brown stuff off of a digging implement.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: 1.6 litre!

            Yup...always amazes me that US vehicles can have a 92 litre engine and still only produce 12bhp and are only good in a straight line...

            Don't be amazed, go there and try them. They suit the environment well. Planned (as opposed to our organic) urban development in much of their cities means straight roads and intersections with lights. So their torquey lazy wafting along is more appropriate than our zippy and nippy style. Highly strung small engines that need race-like revving wouldn't fit in so well there.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: 1.6 litre!

        Yeah, seven in Japan maybe. If they are school girls.

        Err... This is diesel, not American style low compression petrol shit designed to run off low-octane petrol.

        The latest generation 1.6 bi-turbo diesels are perfectly fine to lug a 2 tone 4x4 or pick-up truck off-road.

        Example: https://www.isuzu.co.uk/?keyword=d%20max%20blade - perfectly fine off-road and can tow 3 tones on-road without batting an eye lid. There is a 2.5l "Arctic spec" version, but you do not really need it unless you are going somewhere into the extreme wilderness while towing 3 tonnes. If it is "either/or" the latest gen of 1.6 is sufficient (*).

        I would never drive a new (post-Renault acquisition) Nissan off-road for other reasons like reliability. Lack of pulling power however is not on the list.

        You only need 6 litre monstrosity if it is petrol and automatic (which puts you fair and square in America). The reason is that petrol's high torque point mostly coincides with high power point on the revs curve and is somewhere past 3.5K RPM (at least). As a result, in order to deliver the torque you need for 4x4 driving, you need a stupidly overpowered engine. The automatic gearbox adds insult to injury here as well.

        Compared to that diesel engines reach max torque shortly after idle revs. So if you really drive offroad and really tow it is a choice of diesel or diesel (if allowed by regs) until the transmission-less engine-per axle (or engine per wheel) hybrids fully displace the Prickus style shite. Those reach max torque immediately so they will displace both diesels and petrols. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. This is the sole reason I am not replacing my 11 year old D-Max with a new D-Max - I'd rather wait until there are multiple suppliers (not just Mistubishi) for electric per-axle.

        (*)I own an older 2.5 one which sees plenty of action every summer (and sometimes in winter) around the deepest darkest Eastern Europe and I have test driven the new 1.6 one.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          And the 1.2 litre DIG-T Renault petrol engine that Nissan use in their smaller SUVs is also quite capable of going faster than it ever needs to even with a full load.

          Remember, big cube engines are for people compensating for under-endowment.

          Same as sports bikes, loud motor cycles, big calibre hand guns and aggressive dog breeds.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: 1.6 litre!

            Same as sports bikes

            I deg to biffer here - sports bikes are for frightening oneself silly and making one realise that some things just are not Big or Clever (like crashing)

            Unlike kill-switch backfires in tunnels. Those *are* both Big and Clever.

            Sadly nowadays, my access to sports bikes is nil since the arthritis in my hands means that I can't ride bikes any more. Which is a bit of a bummer.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: 1.6 litre!

            aggressive dog breeds

            PS: No such thing. Only aggressive dog owners. Any dog can be trained to be aggressive.. I speak as someone who has owned Boxers, half-rottweilers and half-Staffies. None of whom were aggressive - although the Miniture Dachshund was..

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: 1.6 litre!

              "None of whom were aggressive - although the Miniture Dachshund was.."

              Them and Chihuahuas. Small dog syndrome.

            2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              Re: 1.6 litre!

              PS: No such thing. Only aggressive dog owners. Any dog can be trained to be aggressive..

              Correct. There are however several breeds which have a very strong instinct to "defend owner against anything" and some people erroneously lock them up and isolate them instead of teaching them that strangers are not a threat to be terminated. It is a basic requirement if you own one of the big mountain shepherd breeds that the whole family goes and wrestles with the 180 pound cuddly teddy bear (bearing scratches and an occasional play-bite). If they do not, you got a serious issue.

            3. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: 1.6 litre!

              "PS: No such thing. Only aggressive dog owners. Any dog can be trained to be aggressive.. I speak as someone who has owned Boxers, half-rottweilers and half-Staffies. None of whom were aggressive - although the Miniture Dachshund was.."

              Went to the Dogs Trust 18 months ago to get a dog. The wife wanted a Minute Dachshund, and the lady at the centre warned us that the dog we were looking at had been returned twice because it was aggressive to people and now only a handful of centre staff could go in the kennel with it. Fair enough, what about the Chihuahua that my wife saw on the website? Same story.

              My wife has no interest in getting a dog now, but I had seen a staffy online and asked about it. I asked to see it, the wife came along not bothered at all (actually not wanting the dog). She was gorgeous, playful, everything a staffy should be. I put my £110 down, came back a week later with my new staffy. The wife didn't want the staffy as she thought they were mean nasty killer dogs.

              18 months on, the wife told me last night she couldn't think of ever living without a dog now. She adores the staffy, even if it still pisses and shits everywhere. But she's not aggressive to a fault. The neighbours cat regularly takes pop shots at her and she runs away. But then goes back to play with it.

              1. RubberJohnny

                Re: 1.6 litre!

                "PS: No such thing. Only aggressive dog owners. Any dog can be trained to be aggressive.. I speak as someone who has owned Boxers, half-rottweilers and half-Staffies. None of whom were aggressive - although the Miniture Dachshund was.."

                OK. So the security industry and the police should ditch their dobs and rotties and replace them with miniature dachsunds.

                Seriously, some breeds have been selectively bred for aggressive working roles and have an aggressive appearance which, like the other items on the list, act as a crutch to sad insecure little men. So nit-picking isn't going anywhere. You know what he meant.

                1. wolfetone Silver badge

                  Re: 1.6 litre!

                  "OK. So the security industry and the police should ditch their dobs and rotties and replace them with miniature dachsunds.

                  Seriously, some breeds have been selectively bred for aggressive working roles and have an aggressive appearance which, like the other items on the list, act as a crutch to sad insecure little men. So nit-picking isn't going anywhere. You know what he meant."

                  You've got the wrong end of the stick. Rottweilers are chosen due to their presence and the strength of their bite. Not the fact that they're natural born killers. Most rotties I've come across that are pets will lick you to death. That's really the only bad thing about them, the slobber.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Re: 1.6 litre!

                    Rottweilers are chosen due to their presence and the strength of their bite.

                    Thanks, you have just made my point for me.

                    The presence that their weakling owners don't have.

              2. tip pc Bronze badge

                Re: 1.6 litre!

                The thing with Staffy’s is that they are perfectly fine until they’re not. Most dogs are the same but when they are not fine, staffy’s are worse than others.

                Staffy’s are very obedient and quite smart, just when they are in a frenzied state they are difficult to bring out of that state which is why they are dangerous.

                My brother has boxers and a Staffy, our dog gets on better with the staffy than the mental boxers, I like the staffy too, but I know which dogs I’d rather take on in a fight and it wouldn’t be the staff.

        2. DavCrav Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          "The latest generation 1.6 bi-turbo diesels are perfectly fine to lug a 2 tone 4x4 or pick-up truck off-road."

          Why would the towed car's colour matter?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          @Voland's right hand; "I would never drive a new (post-Renault acquisition) Nissan off-road for other reasons like reliability. Lack of pulling power however is not on the list."

          I dunno... to be honest, the laydeez just don't seem to be at all impressed when I invite them for a ride in my X-Trail.

          Then again, maybe it's because I sang "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car" at them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 1.6 litre!

            You need it in orange with the big option list wheels.... trust me on that one (though the 2015 orange. The 2017/2018 Orange just looks silly)

        4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          I actually own the 1.6 ltr x-trail in question and whilst not the full fat 4x4 it'll still pull already from lights in a cloud of smoke tyre squeal.

          As for fitting 7 that can be done but really only for little uns in the boot.

          It also pushes out 130bhp and 340nm of torque which I can believe the way it pulls to 70 (and is more torque than the original rover 3.5ltr V8 ).

          It also sounds like Brian Blessed bellowing from having his foot stood on when you stamp on the noisy pedal which does please me.

          It's also worth asking if this check was done from a cold start? If so then it's not surprising since the exhaust has anti soot feature that runs the engine hotter until it's upto temp to allow build up to burn off. Takes about 15 -20 mins to kick in which then also bumps the mph higher too. Enquiring minds and all that.

          Also be reeeaallly interesting if they find no problem with the Reanult Captur or Kadjar considering it's the same sodding engine...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1.6 litre!

        "No, it is the mighty powerplant for an offroad car meant to hold up to seven passengers. Yeah, seven in Japan maybe."

        American engines tend to be big and lazy due to cheap petrol - European and Japanese less so. E.g. VW make a 2.0 that produces the same power output as the 3.7 V6 in Ford's Mustang and has higher peak torque (at 1800 rpm), and a 4.0 V6 that produces more power (560bhp) and torque (700Nm) than the 5.0/5.1 V8 in the GT/GT350. Heck, Kawasaki make a 1.0 with more power (yeah, I know, not a fair comparison as it's a bike engine - included for fun) ... ;)

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: 1.6 litre!

          VW make a 2.0 that produces the same power output as the 3.7 V6 in Ford's Mustang and has higher peak torque (at 1800 rpm)

          One of those engines is turbocharged and the other won't be shagged in 15 years.

          1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

            Re: 1.6 litre!

            I should say 10-15 years.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: 1.6 litre!

              You should measure its life in miles not time because a low miler properly serviced will go on forever.

              Small CC engines that have been designed to produce high torque/bhp per litre are just as good and durable as large engines. Only engines that have been boosted to produce more power than their design are really stressed.

              The latest generation of small engines producing high power are designed to do so.

              The biggest problem is that people haven't been taught the driving style change needed to get the better mpg out of them.

              1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

                Re: 1.6 litre!

                The biggest problem is that people haven't been taught the driving style change needed to get the better mpg out of them.

                These modern small capacity turbos have been designed to short-circuit fuel economy test cycles and don't hold up in real world use. Fuel cycle testing standards are now being revised because it turns out that when a real human gets behind the wheel of one of these new turbocharged economy cars, it can easily consume 50% more fuel than rated. Meanwhile, the equivalent naturally aspirated vehicle is only 10-20% over its rating, so it usually ends up using less fuel.

                1. RubberJohnny

                  Re: 1.6 litre!

                  These modern small capacity turbos have been designed to short-circuit fuel economy test cycles and don't hold up in real world use.

                  That's rubbish. The problem is the driver, the small capacity turbos have a different driving style and a competent driver gets really good MPG.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1.6 litre!

        >No, it is the mighty powerplant for an offroad car meant to hold up to seven passengers

        Like the 2.4 Tigershark that Jeep currently use in the US? I'd take a 1.6 or 1.4 turbo over being stuck in the middle of nowhere with that heap of junk under the hood any day.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could have been worse, just imagine if they were using authorised technicians as opposed to unauthorised technicians. How would they explain that one?

  4. kain preacher Silver badge

    unauthorized technicians ? So rouge techs broke in o Nissan and started to work on their cars ??

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Rouge Techs - Damn Commies!

      1. Solarflare

        "Rouge Techs - Damn Commies!"

        Coming overe here, faking our emissions tests!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Emission test takes you comrade.

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          They are stealing our faked test.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            no, they're not stealing. They're applying them, as per corpolicy in their local car "factory".

            Corpolicy: do as I say, or get fired.

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        Darn dyslexia . But hmm rouge or rogue techs.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      rouge techs

      Caught red-handed

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      "unauthorized technicians ? So rouge techs broke in o Nissan and started to work on their cars ??"

      They were authorized right up until they were caught.

    4. onefang Silver badge

      "unauthorized technicians ? So rouge techs broke in o Nissan and started to work on their cars ??"

      Even worse, evil unauthorised technicians broke into all but one Nissan factory, and tested the cars, perhaps even signing off on them as passing the tests.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        "perhaps even signing off on them as passing the tests."

        Wouldn't that be evil unauthorized(rogue) management ?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fudging emissions data

    the "scandal" about "gaming" the emission rules is nothing new and there were persistent rumour about it in some car magazines, if I remember correctly, at least 10 years ago. It looked like this: a group of boys sit in a circle and ones says: ok, now, who's watching those dirty magazines?! All snigger.

  6. Frenchie Lad

    Will they be Fined?

    Only the Yanks will fine a car manufacturer. The other countries are quite happy with a telling off. Look at how impotenet are the French and most certainly not to a company with French links. The German fines of VAG were symbolic in comparison to the US approach.

    Unfortunately its a case of too big to fail as regards the car inducstry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will they be Fined?

      "The German fines of VAG were symbolic in comparison to the US approach"

      Really? The US fines were $4.3bn (€3.6bn). The German ones were €1bn. Granted, not as much, but not exactly what I'd call symbolic.

      1. Frenchie Lad

        Re: Will they be Fined?

        Perhaps I should have said Total Cost OF SCREW-UP. Quite a big dent in the US far less so in Europe.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Will they be Fined?

        "Really? The US fines were $4.3bn (€3.6bn). The German ones were €1bn. Granted, not as much, but not exactly what I'd call symbolic."

        Also divide by the number of people, since it's reasonable for small countries to levy smaller fines since they are affected less, and the difference gets even smaller.

        1. ToddRundgrensUtopia

          Re: Will they be Fined?

          @DavCrav

          I'd be very surprised if VW sell fewer diesels in Germany than they do in the USA. VW is part owned by the Government of Lower Saxony, (or something similar), so you are fining yourself.

        2. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

          Re: Will they be Fined?

          "Also divide by the number of people, since it's reasonable for small countries to levy smaller fines since they are affected less, and the difference gets even smaller."

          Better would be to divide the fine by the number of vehicles they are being fined for. I'm willing to bet there are significantly more VW diesels in Germany than in the US, so that 4x greater fine in the US is significantly more per vehicle.

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So....

    "Unauthorised technicians" break into car plants, design and plan "cheating modifications", install these on production vehicles (under cover of darkness???) and then tiptoe quietly away.

    And we're expected to believe this bullshit?

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: So....

      Zog just like it was only 2 engineers that were responsible for VW cheat code. Even though Bosch caught it and warned VW. Yep it was done with out their knowledge.

  8. Claverhouse Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    That's why me and the good lady wife will never dream of buying them foreign cars. Or cars with foreign ownership. And never go to abroad. Once we're out, there will be no reason for any of us to ever talk to cheating, lying, foreigners. Keep informed, read the Daily Mail.

    Buy British !

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So can the people who bought Nissan cars in the UK sue - do we even do class-action lawsuits?

    What is the implication on car tax going forward? By rights, this should be paid by Nissan.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      What is the implication on car tax going forward?

      I'll answer that in a moment ...

      But this news comes as no surprise - in fact the only surprise is that it's taken so long to come to light. It's fairly obvious that if you a) impose virtually impossible to meet targets, and b) set those targets in a very specific set of tests, then the result will be that manufacturers will game the tests. Whether this gaming is detecting when those test conditions are in effect (VW), or using the GPS to detect when you're at a test facility (Ford IIRC), or something else doesn't really matter - because the regulations do say that you have to meet those emissions under those conditions and say nothing about other conditions. IMO the fines levied on VW were unjust for the simple reason that regardless of what the press would have people believe - those vehicles DID meet the emissions regulations in the tests as laid down. That they had massively higher emissions outside of those tests is irrelevant - they DID meet the requirements of the tests.

      c.f. when they introduced monitoring and league tables over hospital waiting times, and were completely shocked when the effect on waiting times became part of the decision on how to treat patients. You do have to wonder why TPTB seem unable to grasp the connection between laying down of targets and it resulting in those subject to the targets working towards meeting them !

      But back to the question ...

      Good question, and you have to wonder if the system would even allow for the changing of a car's status after it's already gone into it. But if an owner did get a letter saying (words to the effect of) "Nissan lied, the emissions figures were wrong, we've no re-classified your car and it will cost £x/year in future for your VED" then they'd have a case for going back to the dealer they bought it from and issue words to the effect of "we were given false information when buying this car, it's now costing us £z/year extra car tax, you will be paying that".

      The dealer would be liable as the goods were not accurately described, and the customer is entitled to be put in the position of not losing anything because of the misdescription. This would be pursued through the "small claims court" (more accurately, the fast track service of the county court) but there's a limit of 6 years.

      I can't see any decent dealer not covering the difference - and if it's worth the admin time, going back to Nissan for re-imbursement. More likely, Nissan would offer the owner some freebies in a "if we give you some goodies, will you go away and promise not to sue us over this in the future ?" manner.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But this news comes as no surprise - in fact the only surprise is that it's taken so long to come to light. It's fairly obvious that if you a) impose virtually impossible to meet targets, and b) set those targets in a very specific set of tests, then the result will be that manufacturers will game the tests. Whether this gaming is detecting when those test conditions are in effect (VW), or using the GPS to detect when you're at a test facility (Ford IIRC), or something else doesn't really matter - because the regulations do say that you have to meet those emissions under those conditions and say nothing about other conditions. IMO the fines levied on VW were unjust for the simple reason that regardless of what the press would have people believe - those vehicles DID meet the emissions regulations in the tests as laid down. That they had massively higher emissions outside of those tests is irrelevant - they DID meet the requirements of the tests."

        Did you know that there's this place called the Internet where you can read up on laws and shit?

        42 U.S. Code Part A - Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards

        Have a read.

        Hint: Section 7522 describes prohibitions

        Will probably take you less time to read than it took for you to write that blinkered bollocks.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      What is the implication on car tax going forward?

      VW created a precedent - while their "fix" reduces gas mileage and increases CO2, the fixed vehicles were not rebanded into a new VED band.

      So unfortunately - none. I am saying unfortunately, because a clusterf*ck as big as a VED reband would have given the consumer the right to sue. So far, both government and car companies are extremely careful not to provide them with that.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Unauthorised technicians to blame?

    'The carmaker instituted an internal review, and in September 2017 found it was using “unauthorised technicians” to carry out final vehicle inspection tests for vehicles sold in Japan.'

    I call baloney on that, senior management instructed the technicians to fake the results as the equipment was unable to conform to emission standards.

    "the company also re-checked safety records for cars produced at the affected plants, except GT-R models (for which there weren't enough sold to make a statistical assessment)"

    We fraudulently alter vehicle inspection tests and the GT-R models we sold have no safety issues as we didn't sell a lot of that model.

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