Ford Sued in Federal Court Over Claims of Diesel Emissions Cheating

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

Another lawsuit over diesel emissions was filed Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. This case, filed by a group of Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty owners, alleges that Ford cheated on emission tests of the diesel engines because they pollute much more than the tests certify.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, adds Ford to the growing list of companies facing claims of cheating on diesel emissions testing. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors and Mercedes have all been accused of diesel emissions cheating, although the rash of allegations began with the case against Volkswagen.

That case, which was uncovered by researchers at West Virginia University in 2014, led to the convictions of two former VW employees and charges against several other VW officials, billions of dollars in criminal and civil settlements by the German automaker and an admission by the company that the number of affected VW vehicles approached 11 million worldwide.

The lawsuit against Ford, which also names the supplier Bosch as a defendant, said Ford installed “defeat devices” on about a half million 2011-17 Super Duty diesels. A defeat device is software designed to fool emissions tests by allowing a vehicle to boost its performance, but pollute substantially more in real-world driving.

“Ford’s top selling Super Duty vehicles often emit far more pollution on the road than in the emissions-certification testing environment. These vehicles exceed federal and state emission standards and employ ‘defeat devices’ to turn down the emission controls when each vehicle senses that it is not in the certification test cycle,” according to the lawsuit, which focuses on the company’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engines.

“These vehicles should more properly been called ‘Super Dirty,” the petition asserts.

Ford is pushing back against the claims.

“All Ford vehicles, including those with diesel engines, comply with all U.S. EPA and (California Air Resources Board) emissions regulations. Ford vehicles do not have defeat devices. We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims,” according to a statement sent by Ford spokesman Mike Levine.

Bosch noted the “sensitive legal nature of these matters” in its response to a request for comment.

“Bosch takes the allegations of manipulation of the diesel software very seriously. It is a well-known fact that these allegations remain the subject of investigations and civil litigation involving Bosch. Bosch is cooperating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation,” according to a statement from company spokeswoman Alissa Cleland.

The lawsuit said the trucks at issue represent a profitable and key part of the Dearborn automaker’s offerings, noting that it charges about “$8,400 for diesel-equipped vehicles over comparable gasoline Super Duty trucks.”

The suit, which claims Ford’s Super Duty trucks can pollute up to 50 times more than allowed, comes just after the company announced it would offer a smaller 3.0-liter V6 diesel in its F-150 and just before this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The auto show’s media preview starts Sunday.