Amidst a lot of mistrust regarding fuel economy and exhaust emissions claims by car manufacturers, especially with regards to diesel-powered vehicles, Citroen has initiated an unprecedented move to publish real world fuel consumption information of its vehicles.
Not only that, the test procedures were established with two independent organisations - Transport & Environment (T&E) and France Nature Environment (FNE). The tests, audited by France's Bureau Veritas, were conducted on public roads, and include all main vehicles produced by the PSA Groupe.
The first results from the tests were released to the public in conjunction with the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March.
Two Citroen models, a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 1.6 BlueHDi 120 and a Citroen DS3 1.6 BlueHDi 120, were found to consume just 5.6-litres/100 km and 4.9-litres/100 km respectively, very commendable figures.
The test protocol includes driving on public roads near Paris - 25.5 km urban, 39.7 km extra-urban, and 31.1 km motorway – with passenger and luggage loads, on roads with gradients, with the air-conditioning switched on.
Based on the European Union's Real Driving Emissions (RDE) project, the protocol measures fuel consumption by means of a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) installed on the vehicle. Bureau Veritas, an independent and internationally respected body, guarantees the protocol, ensuring that it is conducted in line with specifications and that the results are accurate and reliable.
Before summer 2016, the PSA Groupe will release official real-world fuel consumption figures for 30 Peugeot, Citroën and core DS models.
Gilles Le Borgne, Executive Vice-President, Research & Development, said: "As announced in late 2015, after working with Transport & Environment, France Nature Environment and Bureau Veritas, the procedure has now been validated and the initial results are consistent with customer-reported consumption data".
Greg Archer, Clean Vehicles Director at Transport & Environment, said: "The test developed with Groupe PSA is reproducible and representative. It confirms the fuel consumption of a tested model by a typical driver in real-world driving conditions. This test proves that the on-road tests are reliable and can be used to measure real CO2 emissions. This should become the benchmark for all carmakers advertising their vehicles' fuel efficiency."
Michel Dubromel, Vice-Chairman of France Nature Environment, added: "The proactive approach taken by Groupe PSA reflects total transparency on CO2 emissions and is set to continue for other pollutants. It's our response to people's legitimate concerns about public health".
Commenting, Marc Boissonnet, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Communication at Bureau Veritas, said: "The initiative, based on cooperation between a manufacturer, an NGO and a certification organization, is both innovative and constructive. It meets all the conditions for addressing issues that may be raised by consumers. Groupe PSA has done what was necessary to ensure an independent and credible verification that can set the standard for the automotive industry".