The European Commission is set to be granted new powers that will allow it to avoid or punish a repeat of Dieselgate

A new law created to avoid a repeat of Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal has been approved by the European Union (EU).

This gives its independent regulatory arm, the European Commission, more authority over the approval of car models across Europe.

It can now fine manufacturers up to €30,000 (£26,240 at today’s exchange rate) for each faulty vehicle and order recalls for models, reports Automotive News Europe.

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The reform also means vehicle manufacturers must disclose software procedures, as the Commission seeks to tackle cheating technology such as that used by Volkswagen.

The legislation was passed this week by the European Parliament and makes the Commission more akin to the US's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The move is one of the severest reactions to Dieselgate since the scandal broke in 2015. 

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The other major change in Europe since that time is the move to more realistic emissions testing, culminating in the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) to replace the NEDC test.

Although WLTP is a laboratory-based procedure, it more closely resembles how a car is driven in the real world compared to its predecessor. A real-world driving test, Real Driving Emissions (RDE) complements the WLTP and is carried out on a variety of roads.

"This reform really improves the flawed system for testing cars," the Brussels-based European Consumer Organisation said in a statement to Automotive News Europe. "The beefed-up role of the EU acts as a deterrent against national regulators giving preferential treatment to their own car makers."

The new rules, originally proposed in January 2016 by the European Commission, are set to be finally approved on 22 May. There are unlikely to be objections, seeing as most European governments have already pledged their support.

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20 April 2018

The diesel emissions fraud has been the biggest corporate environmental crime in history. Hopefully this will prevent it from ever happening again. 

20 April 2018
The issue in the EU is that so far manufacturers have been doing a round robbin to see which members state has the most lacks enforcement. Pass in any one country and you are good to sell in all.

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Our Verdict

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Seat's first attempt at building an SUV is a cracker and knocked the Nissan Qashqai off its perch in the process, so we discover what makes the Ateca our class leader

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week