SMMT Mike HawesSMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has said the Volkswagen emissions scandal is an isolated incident and “implicating other brands or companies would be unfair and wrong”.

Speaking at the National Air Quality Conference, Hawes said “the actions of one company do not mean collusion” – and also said the current anti-diesel sentiment is also wrong.

“The latest diesel vehicles are the cleanest ever… effectively reducing nitrogen oxide levels by 92% compared with earlier generations.

“They also make a significant contribution to the UK’s climate change targets for CO2, “an environmental challenge which cannot be ignored”.

Emissions testing: car makers do not cheat

The current European NEDC fuel consumption test is out of date, said Hawes – car manufacturers recognise this. “We want, for consumers and our own industry’s integrity, a new emissions test that embraces new technologies and is more representative of on-the-road conditions.

And although the test is flawed, Hawes also took the opportunity to defend car manufacturers testing to the official NEDC fuel consumption cycle.

“For the record,” he said, “vehicle manufacturers cannot and do not:

  • Remove mirrors, seats, windscreen wipers or other components
  • Disconnect the alternator
  • Tape over panel gaps
  • Use special oils
  • Fit special tyres (or overinflate them)
  • Alter wheel alignment
  • Use higher gears than in normal use

Hawes’ speech comes as Which? launches a petition calling for motorists to be able “to trust car makers’ fuel efficiency and emissions claims”.

More on the VW Group scandal on Motoring Research