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Germany Cars : Emissions scandal expands as BMW X3 accused of also failing test

Emissions scandal expands as BMW X3 accused of also failing test.

The ongoing scandal at Volkswagen widened today to include another automaker,
as BMW denied a report in a German magazine that its X3 sport utility vehicle
also failed an emissions test, reportedly spewing out 11 times the legal level
of pollutants while in operation.

Shares in BMW were down almost 10 per cent on the report in Auto Bild
that the four-wheel-drive version of the X3 emitted 11 times the legal
European limit of nitrogen oxide when tested by the International Council on
Clean Transportation (ICCT), the same group that alerted U.S. regulators to the
discrepancy between emissions levels on Volkswagens on tests versus in
real-world scenarios.

That's worse than the Passat did, but better than the Jetta, which belched
out 22 times the acceptable level of nitrogen oxides, the magazine said.
Thirteen other BMW models, meanwhile, passed the test.

"All measured data suggest that this is not a VW-specific
issue," ICCT managing director Peter Mock was quoted by the magazine as saying.

BMW denied the report, saying while it was not aware of the ICCT's specific
tests, it did not "manipulate or rig any emissions tests," the automaker said in
a statement. "We observe the legal requirements in each country and adhere to
all local testing requirements. When it comes to our vehicles, there is no
difference in the treatment of exhaust emissions whether they are on [a test] or
on the road."

BMW shares lost almost 10 per cent before recovering somewhat, but late in
the trading day in Frankfurt BMW shares were off by about seven per cent, at
€74.20 (about $112 Cdn). A day earlier, the shares closed at just under the €80
level (just over $120 Cdn).

Analysts say a dark cloud is likely to hang over virtually all German
automakers until the reality of what exactly happened inside Volkswagen comes

"Restoring the credibility of diesel engines likely will hinge on whether or
not VW is alone in acting in this manner," Nomura analyst Manabu Akizuki said in
a research note. "However, the BMW X5 cleared the aforementioned tests, so at
this stage it seems premature to assume the problem is more widespread."

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt says the governmental probe into
the issue will look at all car models, not merely Volkswagens.

"It is clear that the Federal Office for Motor Traffic will not exclusively
concentrate on the VW models in question but that it will also carry out random
tests on vehicles made by other carmakers," he said Thursday.

For its part, the board at Volkswagen says it will on Friday name a successor
to ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned yesterday, but it will also start
naming others who bear some responsibility for the emissions scandal, Reuters
reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

German newspaper Das Bild reported Thursday that two high ranking
manager, Audi's R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg, a long-time VW brand executive
and Porsche's engine chief Wolfgang Hatz will be dismissed at a meeting of the
supervisory board on Friday.
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