Justice Department investigating Ford Motor Company for emissions certification

April 26, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether Ford Motor Company deliberately falsified emissions certifications for cars, trucks, and SUVs going back as far as the 2017 model year.

Ford disclosed the investigation Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which was first reported by The Detroit Free Press. In February, the automaker launched its own internal investigation, alerted environmental regulators, and hired outside investigators to determine whether it had overstated fuel-economy figures. 

"We voluntarily disclosed this matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board on February 18, 2019, and February 21, 2019, respectively," Ford said in its SEC filing Friday. "Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into the matter. In addition, we have notified a number of other state and federal agencies. We are fully cooperating with all government agencies. Because this matter is still in the preliminary stages, we cannot predict the outcome, and we cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us."

Ford said in its filing that the matter doesn't involve defeat devices similar to those that brought about $18 billion in penalties and fines in the U.S. for Volkswagen following its massive diesel emissions scandal.  Emissions defeat devices can force vehicles to operate differently when they recognize they are undergoing testing procedures.

It is not clear what vehicles may have overstated fuel economy figures. In February, Ford said it began a new emissions test procedure that started with the 2019 Ranger on sale.

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