WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board approved the sale of the new 2016 BMW diesel X5 after government testing found no evidence of software to evade emissions standards, the government said Thursday.
In September, U.S. environmental regulators and Transport Canada announced they would review all current diesel passenger cars, trucks and SUVs for sale to ensure that they did not have “defeat devices.”
EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen said Thursday that the agency - along with California and Canada - was doing additional testing before approving new diesel vehicles. “Our screening tests found no evidence of a defeat device in the 2016 BMW X5,” she said.
BMW said late Thursday it had delayed the start of production of the diesel X5 - known as the X5 xDrive35d - until EPA testing and certification were completed.
“The vehicle will be going into production shortly at our manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina,” BMW said. It expects the vehicle will go on sale in January.
The EPA diesel review came weeks after Volkswagen AG admitted it installed software in 482,000 U.S. vehicles that allowed vehicles to emit up to 40 times allowable pollution in real world driving. VW says the issue involved up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Last month the EPA approved the sale of two new General Motors diesel pickup trucks - the 2016 GMC Canyon and 2016 Chevrolet Colorado - after finding no improper emissions.
The BMW SUV and GM pickups were the only non-VW 2016 diesel vehicles awaiting certification.
BMW says diesels accounted for 5.9 percent, or 20,178, of 2014 U.S. vehicle sales.
In November, VW and its Audi and Porsche units acknowledged it has other emissions issues in larger luxury vehicles that extend to an additional 85,000 vehicles dating back to 2009.
The EPA and California on Nov. 2 accused VW of evading emissions in at least 10,000 Audi, Porsche and VW sport utility vehicles and cars with 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engines. VW initially denied the findings.
Last month, VW and Audi officials acknowledged emissions issues in all vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines from model years 2009 through 2016.
VW, Porsche and Audi have issued stop sales for 2015 and 2016 diesel models in showrooms and certified used diesel vehicles. The EPA declined to approve the sale of 2016 diesel vehicles, and VW withdrew its certification request for the cars in October pending further talks with regulators.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler