October 17, 2018 / 3:37 PM / a month ago

U.S. environmental agency says has been in talks with AB Volvo over emissions issue

STOCKHOLM, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday it has been in talks with Volvo over the last few weeks about an issue with their catalytic converters that was causing some vehicles to exceed nitrogen oxide emission limits.

Volvo warned a day earlier that some of its truck and bus engines could be exceeding limits for nitrogen oxide emissions as an emissions control component it uses was degrading more quickly than expected.

The Swedish truckmaker said it could face material costs to deal with the issue largely affecting trucks and buses sold in North America and Europe, its two largest markets, and that it was working with authorities to find a solution.

A spokesperson for the EPA told Reuters via email on Wednesday that the body was aware of the situation, which it said involved Volvo heavy duty trucks.

"Over the last few weeks, EPA and the California Air Resources Board have been communicating with Volvo about the problem and are now continuing to meet with the company to develop plans to quickly address this situation."

Asked why Volvo had waited a couple of weeks before informing the market, a Volvo spokesman said the company needed to see whether this would be a large issue and it was standard protocol to inform authorities first.

"Authorities and legal bodies are normally informed prior to the markets because we inform them even if the problem is very, very small," he said.

Volvo has not detailed when the affected trucks were sold or how many trucks are impacted, but has said only that all products equipped with the component met emissions limits at delivery.

The company sold 51,693 trucks in North America last year and another 115,863 in Europe.

EPA and CARB declined to comment when asked how many trucks were involved, while a spokesman for Volvo said it was too early to know.

"We... are working with the company to more fully understand what's going on," a spokesman for CARB said in a brief separate comment, without giving more details.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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