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SMMT chief says wrong to penalise all diesels

Speaking yesterday (1 October) at the National Air Quality Conference, Hawes said there was no collusion over test manipulation: "Consumers are right to be concerned following the events of the past 10 days. But we must remember… The actions of one company do not mean collusion… implicating other brands or companies would be unfair and wrong."  

He added: "It would be wrong to penalise all diesels. The latest diesel vehicles are the cleanest ever… effectively reducing nitrogen oxide levels by 92% compared with earlier generations…They make a significant contribution to climate change targets, an environmental challenge which cannot be ignored."  

Hawes also set the record straight on vehicle testing, saying that “vehicle manufacturers cannot and do not:

  • Remove mirrors, seats, windscreen wipers – or indeed any other components
  • Disconnect the alternator
  • Tape over panel gaps
  • Use special oils and lubricants that are not in production vehicles
  • Fit special tyres or overinflate them
  • Alter wheel alignment
  • Use higher gears than in normal use." 

However, he admitted that better testing was needed. 

“We recognise the current regulations for testing are out of date…” he said. “We want, for consumers and our own industry’s integrity, a new emissions test that embraces new technologies, and which is more representative of on the road conditions…"  

"We cannot allow this current scandal to detract from vital progress towards the implementation of these new tests."

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.