Ford Under US Criminal Investigation of Emissions Testing

An employee questioned how Ford does its emission testing certification process for U.S. regulators

U.S. authorities have opened a criminal probe into Ford's emissions certification process, the automaker said Friday.

On the strength of an otherwise positive quarterly report that saw Ford beating market expectations, the disclosure of the criminal investigation didn't seem to rattle any investors.

Ford said in a regulatory filing that it is cooperating with all government agencies. "Ford is fully cooperating with the government, and we'll keep them posted on what we're finding through our investigation and technical review".

Ford Motor Co. disclosed Friday that it is the subject of a criminal probe by the US Department of Justice over its handling of emissions testing that the company had previously reported to regulators.

And last January, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles paid $800 million to settle state and federal regulators' allegations that it violated clean air laws by installing and failing to disclose emissions software that allows excess pollution.

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"If we needed any more evidence that stronger consumer and environmental protections are needed, this is it", Madeline Page, the coordinator of the Clean Cars Campaign, said after news of the Ford investigation was released.

Ford voluntarily disclosed the issue to the Environmental Protection Agency on February 18 and the California Air Resources Board on Feb 21.

Since 2015, USA and California regulators have cracked down on automakers who cheat on emissions testing after Volkswagen's use of defeat devices became public knowledge. In its SEC filing, Ford was quick to stress that this has nothing to do with defeat devices like those found in VW's diesel vehicles. The company said it may have taken a flawed approach to calculating the effect of aerodynamic drag and tire friction on the fuel economy of its vehicles outside of testing labs.

Ford subsequently hired an outside firm to validate its own test results and then, in February, launched an internal investigation that appeared to indicate that its emissions levels were being understated, while mileage numbers were being overstated on a number of its products. In 2014, Ford lowered fuel economy ratings for six other models and offered compensation to customers.

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