Feds End Ford Criminal Probe Over Emissions

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We caught wind that Ford was under criminal investigation over emissions violations almost two years ago now. That followed an earlier lawsuit that accused Ford of cheating diesel emissions on a half-million trucks. Ford said today the Justice Department part of the probe is now closed.

The California Air Resources Board has also closed its investigation, Ford said.

“Reviews opened by EPA and Environment and Climate Change Canada remain open,” Ford said today in an SEC filing.

Beginning in 2018 and continuing into 2020, the Company investigated a potential concern involving its U.S. emissions certification process. The matter focused on issues related to road load estimations, including analytical modeling and coastdown testing. The potential concern did not involve the use of defeat devices (see Item 1, Governmental Standards for a definition of defeat devices). We voluntarily disclosed this matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) on February 18, 2019 and February 21, 2019, respectively. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) opened a criminal investigation into the matter. In addition, we notified a number of other state and federal agencies. We cooperated fully with these government agencies. We received notifications from CARB and DOJ that these agencies have closed their inquiries into the matter referenced above and do not intend to take any further action.

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Ford’s insistence that defeat devices were not involved is its way of saying that this is nothing like that other diesel thing you might remember. Fair enough, though it still has the lawsuit to contend with, in addition to the EPA. I also wonder how much a change in the White House made a difference for Ford with the DOJ, given that it was one of the automakers that jumped ship on Trump and sided with California. We’ll know for sure in a couple of decades when someone writes the definitive history of Ford in the Biden years.