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BMW's 2017 Diesel Models Delayed Amid Heightened Federal Scrutiny

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CARS.COM — In the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions scandal, other automakers are facing a more arduous process for getting their 2017 diesel models certified by federal regulators. BMW confirmed to Cars.com that the U.S. sale dates of its model-year 2017 diesel-powered cars and SUVs have been delayed as a result of a more stringent process for “homologation,” or the official confirmation by federal authorities that a product meets regulatory standards.

Related: VW Diesel Settlement: What Owners, Lessees Need to Know

“The product certification … has been delayed due to testing logistics,” BMW spokeswoman Rebecca Kiehne told Cars.com in an email. “As a result, production of these models will commence once homologation has been finalized.”

Kiehne noted that affected BMW models include model-year 2017 328d sedans and wagons, and X3 xDrive28d and X5 xDrive35d SUVs. She said the automaker does not know how long the diesel models will be delayed.

“In light of recent events, agencies are taking longer to certify diesel models for the U.S., but there has been no indication that BMW’s diesel models do not meet all requisite emission standards,” Kiehne stated. “We do not have a completion date for the testing and will have to wait until agencies complete testing.”

A statement to Cars.com from the EPA confirmed that the diesel models are being subjected to heightened scrutiny, but the agency would not comment on specific automakers or models affected.

“It is true that diesel vehicles are getting extra scrutiny that has extended the certification process longer than normal,” the EPA stated. “In general, manufacturers have been supportive of this additional testing and have adjusted their timing to account for it.”

Earlier this year, BMW vowed that, despite the VW scandal, it has no intention of giving up on diesel sales in the U.S., Car and Driver reported. Diesel models, the automaker said, comprise a third of sales of its X Series SUVs.

In September 2015, news broke that VW had intentionally equipped its diesel cars — nearly a half-million in the U.S., including certain model-year 2009-15 Volkswagens and Audis — with a cheat device designed to evade emissions tests aimed at smog reduction. Earlier this summer, VW reached an agreement with U.S. regulators and consumer class-action attorneys to pay nearly $15 billion to settle associated claims.

A spokeswoman for GM responding to a Cars.com inquiry said the automaker has not released any timing details for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. Other automakers contacted for comment did not immediately respond. In April, the U.S. Department of Justice ordered Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler to launch an internal investigation of its vehicle-emissions systems in response to alleged irregularities.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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