Prosecutors in Germany, Italy and Hungary have carried out searches related to the use of illegal defeat devices that provide manipulated emissions readings to comply with EU regulations on Suzuki diesel vehicles.
According to the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, Suzuki is suspected of fraud because it sold over 22,000 diesel vehicles with inadmissible defeat devices in the exhaust treatment.
Defeat devices were used to massively reduce or completely stop the purification of exhaust gases to reduce NOx emissions, prosecutors say.
The devices were mounted on the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, Swift and Vitara, according to prosecutors.
In addition to Suzuki managers, directors of Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis) and Marelli are also suspected, the dpa news agency reported.
The engines were delivered by Fiat Chrysler, and the software was provided by Marelli.
The headquarters of the companies involved in Heidelberg, Germany, Corbetta, Italy and Esztergom, Hungary, were searched on Wednesday. Prosecutors confiscated communications data, software and planning documents, dpa said.
The searches are part of a coordinated action by Eurojust, the European agency for cooperation in criminal justice.
“The devices were allegedly mounted in the Italian-built diesel engines of a large number of cars, giving the impression that the nitrogen oxide emissions of the vehicles are in line with EU regulations,” the agency said.
Nothing new under the sun
The engines were assembled in cars in Hungary, where Suzuki has a factory, the agency added.
Suzuki formed an alliance with Fiat to produce diesel engines in Asia in 2005. It extended the agreement to buy engines from Fiat in Hungary in 2011.
A Suzuki spokesman, based in Germany, said the company and local management were “cooperating with the investigating authorities”.
Stellantis stated that its FCA Italia subsidiary had been asked, in a Frankfurt investigation, to provide information and documents “on the use of emission control software that was allegedly prohibited in Suzuki-supplied diesel engines”.
“The company will continue to cooperate fully in the investigation into this matter,” the carmaker said in a statement.
Marelli said he was working with investigators. “Marelli is confident that we have always conducted our operations in full compliance with the regulations,” he said.
Regulators around the world have been testing diesel models since the Volkswagen Group admitted in 2015 that it used illegal software to defraud US emissions testing.
VW acknowledged that it used the software to manipulate diesel engine tests and said 11 million vehicles were involved worldwide. So far, the scandal has cost the German carmaker more than $ 40 billion in vehicle repairs, fines and commissions for future claims.