LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover is facing the recall of tens of thousands of vehicles in Europe because of high CO2 emissions. It's the latest blow to the UK automaker, which is struggling after diesel sales slumped in Europe and sales slowed in its key Chinese market.
The recall involves Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles with 2.0-liter engines that emit more CO2 than was officially recorded.
Jaguar XE, XF, E-Pace and F-Pace models are affected, as well as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar, and Range Rover Sport.
The recall covers engines built between 2014 and 2018, prior to the changeover to the WLTP emissions regulations in Europe in September last year, according to the European Union's Safety Gate Rapex rapid alert system for potentially dangerous non-food products.
Safety Gate said vehicles may emit "excessive levels of CO2 and may not conform with the certified condition."
In the UK, 44,389 engines are affected. The majority are diesels but the figure also includes 9,653 gasoline engines.
Excessive CO2 means the cars use more fuel in test conditions than stated by JLR.
CO2 levels are important to calculate fuel consumption figures to allow buyers to compare the fuel efficiency of different vehicles. CO2 emissions numbers are also used to set tax levels for vehicles.
JLR disputed that the cars produced "excessive" levels of CO2, saying the change in CO2 is around 2 percent on average across the affected models. The recall will return vehicles to the 'as certified' condition, JLR said in a statement.
Environmental lobbyists criticized the automaker. "JLR has clearly been minimizing the declared CO2 and under estimating emissions. I would call that cheating. I except they will claim it was an error," said Greg Archer, UK director for the European environmental pressure group, Transport & Environment.
JLR denied cheating, saying the issue was detected through statutory conformity of production testing.
Working on fix
Jaguar Land Rover said the vehicles affected are being rectified to "ensure the correct CO2 performance is dependably achieved."
"The modifications will be made free of charge and every effort will be made to minimize inconvenience to the customer," the automaker said in a statement.
Owners are already voicing concerns that the fix will be a software change that could make the cars less powerful.
"I'm worried about that. My car is in the dealers now. The easy way to reduce the emissions would be to restrict the car's performance," a Range Rover Evoque owner wrote on an Internet forum dedicated to the model.
JLR said cars wouldn’t lose power. “Owners do not need to be concerned about this,” a spokesperson said. She said software changes on diesels could mean the start/stop technology working at lower temperatures, noisier cold starts, lower idling revs and reduced distance between AdBlue refills.
In the UK vehicle owners are not forced to bring their cars in for recall, but any business selling a secondhand car must ensure all recalls have been carried out before the sale, the DVSA said.
JLR is suffering a financial crisis caused mainly by its collapsing sales in China. The automaker's sales in the country were down 48 percent in February, according to company data. JLR was also slow to reduce its reliance on diesel vehicles in Europe, where buyers are deserting the powertrain.
JLR posted a $4 billion loss in the third quarter of the financial year ending March 2019 after writing off certain investments, leading to fears it is running out of cash. The company is carrying out a cost savings program that will involve the loss of 4,500 jobs.