DfT rules on Klarius

VCA finds company's products failed to meet specifications

Published:  15 December, 2015

The Department for Transport has ruled on its investigation into allegations of Malpractice by exhaust manufacturer Klarius.

The principle allegation made against Klarius was that unapproved replacement catalytic converters were being placed on the market in breach of regulation 8(1) of the Motor Vehicle (Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Pollution Control Devices) Regulations 2009.

In summary,

• Klarius found to be using a Type Approval number, which they no longer had the right to use.

• Company substituted components in the catalytic converter with unapproved alternatives.

• Company failed to manage their compliance and approval duties under Type Approval

• 5127 non-compliant products were produced bearing the invalid approval number

• Flawed processes allowed serious mistakes in not controlling parts and approvals

A statement from the Department for Transport said: “At the government’s request, industry regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), carried out a robust investigation which led to product manufacturer Klarius recalling over 4,400 potentially affected catalytic convertors after its products failed to meet strict specifications.

"VCA is satisfied that the company has taken the necessary action to ensure its products now meet the required standards, but will continue to keep the work of the manufacturer under review.

"Less than 700 of the affected catalytic converters will have been fitted to vehicles – 0.002% of the fleet in the UK.”

In total Klarius advised VCA that 5127 non-compliant products were produced bearing the invalid approval number and/or containing incorrect components. Klarius, over a period of six weeks, managed to identify and remove from the market 4458 (87%) of the incorrect parts. The remaining unaccounted for 659 products include those already fitted to vehicles. As this would only represent 0.002% of the vehicle fleet, it would not be expected to have a significant impact on air quality.

VCA has carried out an audit of Klarius, under its Conformity of Production procedures. The issues were found to stem from flawed processes that allowed these serious mistakes in not controlling parts and approval number inventory adequately, exacerbated by a lack of understanding of Type Approval. These issues have now been adequately addressed. The causes of the breach are likely to include a number of errors, in particular a misunderstanding of how type approvals apply and inadequate management systems.

The VCA has assessed that Klarius is now compliant with the applicable legislation. However Klarius will continue to be monitored and if further breaches are found then additional action up to and including prosecution will be considered.

The Department for Transport also voiced concern that the “replacement catalyst approval process is not providing the level of confidence in product performance that it should”. As a result samples of products from UK manufacturers and overseas suppliers have been acquired through normal retail channels and are being tested against the approval regulations to ensure they are compliant.

The Department also reminded all manufacturers that they have a duty to ensure the products they design, manufacture and sell comply with the applicable laws, including approval requirements governing the fitting to certain vehicles. If manufacturers are in any doubt about these requirements they should obtain suitable legal advice.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “Following a near 12 month investigation, we are disappointed to see that Klarius have been found to be using grossly inadequate processes. The investigation has identified some very serious mistakes by Klarius and breach of regulations, both of which damage the reputation and integrity of the independent aftermarket.”

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