BERLIN -- Germany wants the European Union to tighten a loophole in vehicle-emissions rules that allows carmakers to reduce pollution controls in certain conditions, part of the heightened scrutiny in the wake of Volkswagen's diesel-cheating scandal.
European regulations allow automakers to adjust exhaust systems for safety reasons, but after testing more than 50 models, Germany doubts that such controls "could be fully and solely justified by the need for engine protection," the country's Transport Ministry said in a document prepared for an EU meeting.
As a result, Germany wants the EU to add a clause saying that automakers need to explore the "best available technologies" before being allowed to turn off emissions controls to protect the vehicle. "Wording this exception more precisely would increase legal certainty," the ministry said.
Germany has already acted against auto manufacturers pushing the boundaries of existing regulations.
In April, it got Volkswagen and other German car companies to agree to voluntarily recall 630,000 vehicles in Europe to upgrade temperature-control setups on diesel emissions systems. Germany has also been in a spat with Italian authorities and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over similar systems.
The document also said carmakers should be forced to disclose what kind of technology they use to protect engines in punishing driving conditions and how such software works.
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said last month that General Motors' Opel division had admitted that its Zafira model includes engine software that switches off exhaust treatment systems under certain speed and air pressure conditions in order to protect the engine. But Opel said such technology was legal.
Volkswagen emissions scandal concerned the rigging of exhaust emissions tests as opposed to shutting down exhaust reduction systems under certain conditions.
Reuters contributed to this report