U.S. Justice Department Launches Criminal Probe Into Ford Emissions Certifications

The probe could result in financial penalties for the automaker

U.S. Justice Department Launches Criminal Probe Into Ford Emissions Certifications
Ford is currently looking into problems with its emissions certifications, starting with the new Ranger.

The Department of Justice probe comes two months after Ford announced an independent review.

Ford disclosed that the probe came after the company disclosed potential concerns with its U.S. emissions certification process to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.

In February, the company held meetings with both environmental agencies, and turned over documents for review. The 2019 Ford Ranger and its stated fuel economy have been under the microscope. After Ford’s news of its independent review broke, we conducted a real-world test to determine what sort of economy we could manage in the new Ford Ranger.

Ford said in a recent SEC filing that it was working with the Justice Department regarding the recent scrutiny. “Ford is fully cooperating with the government, and we’ll keep them posted on what we’re finding through our investigation and technical review.” At the moment, neither the Justice Department nor the EPA have made a public statement on the matter.

Penalties ahead?

The outcome of this new probe could mean major financial penalties for Ford and other automakers. In the wake of other emissions scandals, regulators have taken more of a hardline approach to the issue. Reuters reports that EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said there are other enforcement actions pending against automakers.

“When people are not playing by the rules and they are creating more pollution, we will catch them, we will hold them accountable,” Wheeler said earlier this month.

In January, Fiat Chrysler agreed to settle its dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of California over its EcoDiesel engines. U.S. regulators are also looking into Daimler AG — parent company to Mercedes-Benz — for alleged emissions violations in its diesel vehicles.

To date, Volkswagen has paid more than $25 billion in the United States over claims related to the Dieselgate scandal. That total includes compensation to owners, settlements with regulators, states and dealers, as well as buybacks for half a million diesel cars.

We’ll provide more updates on the Ford emissions probe as it progresses.