The specter of the diesel scandal, which has haunted several major automakers, now appears to be looming over BMW. As reported by Germany’s Bild newspaper, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has initiated a hearing against the BMW Group. This move signals a deepening inquiry into the use of potentially inadmissible shutdown devices in BMW’s vehicles, particularly focusing on the 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine in the BMW X3 xDrive20d of the F25 generation.
This particular model, a subject of repeated investigations, has historically managed to evade all allegations. However, the persistence of the inquiry suggests that regulatory bodies are not yet satisfied with the explanations provided. Essentially, the KBA probes whether BMW equipped its diesel X3 models with devices that falsely represent the vehicles as emitting far fewer pollutants than they actually do. Reuters, upon inquiry, clarified that Bild’s report doesn’t highlight new allegations but ties back to ongoing investigations mentioned in BMW’s half-year report of 2023.
BMW had previously acknowledged that the European Court of Justice’s stringent norms on defeat devices could lead to reevaluation of previously permissible emissions control aspects. The crux of the matter revolves around whether it’s permissible to switch off exhaust gas purification under certain temperature conditions to protect engine components, and the acceptable range for these temperature windows.
In its 2023 half-year report, BMW noted under ‘Contingent liabilities’ that it was engaging in discussions with two regulatory authorities, including the German KBA, to resolve queries about its emissions behavior. The current hearing could be a continuation of this dialogue, aimed at gathering more specific information or could be a result of a reassessment based on the new defeat device standards.
BMW, maintaining its stance on the ongoing legal matter, refrained from commenting on the case when approached by Bild.