German automakers have been under a microscope when it comes to emissions from their diesel cars, which were formerly bestsellers in Europe.
After Daimler, Volkswagen, and German supplier Bosch paid billions in fines and several Audi managers have been arrested over installing diesel-emissions cheat devices, German prosecutors have handed down a fine to BMW as well. BMW will pay $9.6 million (8.5 million euros) for installing "defective" engine software in diesel cars, German prosecutors announced on Monday.
That amount pales in comparison to the $31.2 billion that Volkswagen has paid worldwide for installing emissions "cheat devices" in 11 million cars, including $2 billion in Germany between VW and its luxury Audi subsidiary.
Mercedes-Benz and its parent company face similar investigations and fine both in the U.S. and in Europe, and Fiat Chrysler has recently settled a case in the U.S. over its Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel models, which also used software from Bosch. (Bosch was a party to the U.S. FCA settlement.)
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After investigating BMW, German prosecutors found that the company mistakenly installed incorrect software in 7,965 cars, and fined the company for lax oversight and insufficient quality control, but said they found no evidence of fraud, as they did at Volkswagen and Audi.
In the original test that brought the diesel emissions cheating to light, the University of West Virginia and the International Council on Clean Transportation tested two VW TDIs and a BMW diesel, and found that while the VWs emitted up to 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxides on the road, the BMW remained in compliance.
The VW TDI emissions cheat device was found to activate the cars' full emissions reduction capability only when software detected it was being tested in a lab, and to disable several emissions control strategies the rest of the time.
In the years since the diesel emissions scandal came to light, the German automakers have dialed back their diesel sales and have begun to focus on building electric cars.