France created the agency to detect emissions of fraud

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PARIS — France has created a new transport inspection agency to help detect the emissions of fraud, following an EU directive issued in the wake of Volkswagen Group diesel scandal.The Monitoring Service for the Vehicle and the Engine of the Market, or SSMVM, will initially have a budget of € 5 million ($5.5 million) and expects to perform 100 tests per year. It will be overseen by the climate and energy ministry.

Violators would be subject to progressively more severe sanctions, beginning with a warning and ranging from market recall and fines of up to eur 300 000 for each non-compliant engine and 1 million euros per car non-compliant.

Criminal prosecution is also a possibility, the French government has said. In some circumstances, fines can reach up to 10 percent of annual sales, the government said.

In the framework of the EU’s response to the 2015 revelations that the VW Group has been using a so-called “defeat device,” installed software to beat the emissions test, it is revamping the rules for the type approval to give the European Commission increased powers of supervision over manufacturers and inspection bodies. Before the new directive, the approvals are the responsibility of the national authorities.

Among the requirements, which go into effect on Sept. 1, is that each member state must ensure that it has a “market surveillance authority” to perform independent tests of vehicles that are approved for the market.

The united KINGDOM in 2016 established a similar organization, the Market for Vehicles of the Monitoring Unit. In 2018, the most recent year available, the unit has carried out tests on 28 models of vehicles.

The new French agency will not carry out the type approval itself, but will be the inspection of documents, to carry out its own tests and respond to complaints. In addition to passenger car emissions, it will be responsible for the application of the safety regulations for all motor vehicles, engines and components, as well as trailers and off-road vehicles.

It will publish a report each year on its activities, the government said.

French automakers have not recently been the subject of sanctions or fines, but to Renault and the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, have been facing charges of consumer fraud in France after independent tests found a discrepancy in the real-world emissions for comparison with the results of laboratory test.

This gap is the reason for which the EU has moved towards approval of type, which corresponds more closely to real-world driving conditions, with the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) procedures.

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