Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Ford faces criminal probe over auto emissions certification numbers

Ford's emissions issues prompt DoJ criminal investigation Ford under criminal investigation for emissions certification program
Russell Knight | 28 April, 2019, 19:30

The US Department of Justice is to launch a criminal investigation into the Ford Motor Company.

Since 2015, US and California regulators have cracked down on automakers cheating on emissions testing after Volkswagen's use of defeat devices became public knowledge. The automaker went on to say they voluntarily disclosed the issue to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board in February.

Ford actually self-reported its concerns to agencies including the EPA. When Ford disclosed the issue in February, the automaker said "there's been no determination that this affects Ford's fuel economy labels or emissions certifications". Volkswagen AG paid a $4.3 billion penalty in 2017 for misleading regulators and customers about its diesel engines' emissions.

The disclosure came after Ford reported United States dollars 1.1 billion in first-quarter profits, a drop of 34 per cent from the comparable period of past year, but better than analysts expected.

Since the investigation by the Justice Department is in its early stages, Ford told its investors that the automaker "cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us".

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A number of different Ford vehicles, like this Ranger, could have mpg and emissions restated.

Ford is evaluating changes to the process it uses to develop fuel economy and emissions figures "including engineering, technical and governance components", the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said.

Defeat devices are systems or software that work out when a vehicle's emissions are being checked, and turn on pollution controls that might not be used in normal driving.

"The potential concern does not involve the use of defeat devices". The automaker initially offered payouts to affected owners to cover, among other things, higher-than-expected fuel costs. Along with the two executives who have so far been prosecuted in the US, a number of other former VW employees have been charged, including former Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn. We are fully cooperating with all government agencies.

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