Ford Investigated Over Concerns About Improper Emissions Tests

April 29, 2019 by Tom Ramstack
2019 Ford Edge ST. The ST is the performance version of Ford's popular five-passenger Edge midsize SUV. (Ford)

Ford Motor Co. is being investigated by the Justice Department over its emissions certification process, the company said in a government securities filing Friday.

Ford said in the quarterly report that the criminal investigation focuses on its “road load estimations,” which refers to its method for calculating how much energy the powertrain must exert to achieve certain speeds. Different speeds produce different amounts of hydrocarbon emissions.

Ford said it voluntarily disclosed potential problems with the calculations to the Environmental Protection Agency in February after employees reported concerns through internal channels. The Justice Department responded with the criminal investigation.

The company said in a statement that it “cannot predict the outcome and we cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us.”

Ford explained the investigation focuses on equipment that is different from the computer software Volkswagen AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV were accused of rigging to trick enforcement agencies.

Those companies’ software was designed to make vehicles emit lower levels of pollutants during testing than during regular use. Together they paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements.

Instead, “This matter currently focuses on issues relating to road load estimations, including analytical modeling and coastdown testing,” Ford said in its quarterly report.  

In addition to the EPA, the company voluntarily reported the issue to the California Air Resources Board as well as other state and federal agencies.

“Our focus is on completing our investigation and a thorough technical review of this matter and cooperating with government and regulatory agencies,” Ford said in a statement.

The road load estimation uses factors such as aerodynamic drag and tire friction to determine both fuel economy and emissions from vehicles, according to the EPA.

“Because it is difficult to measure road load directly, EPA has adopted the coastdown method to characterize road load force,” the EPA explained in a 2015 guidance. “During a coastdown test, the vehicle is allowed to decelerate with the transmission in neutral while its speed is periodically measured.”

Although Ford’s cooperation with the government is undisputed in the investigation announced Friday, the company is facing racketeering and fraud claims over its emissions tests in a separate federal court case pending in Michigan.

Ford and auto parts manufacturer Robert Bosch LLC are accused of rigging a half-million F-250 and F-350 heavy duty trucks to fool emissions tests.

Unlike some automakers, Ford has supported controversial Obama administration regulations that gradually reduce the emissions allowed from vehicles operating in the United States.

The Trump administration proposes freezing the emissions standards as a concession to other automakers who complained they would raise vehicle costs to comply with the regulations.

“We support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback,” the company’s top executives said in a blog post last year.

Announcement of the Justice Department investigation had no measurable effect on Ford’s shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The stock rose nearly 11 percent in trading Friday.

Business

ROKK Solutions Launches New Practice Area: Social Impact Communications
In The News
ROKK Solutions Launches New Practice Area: Social Impact Communications
September 22, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Lindsay Singleton, longtime managing director at ROKK Solutions, will now also serve as lead of its new practice area: social impact communications. The practice, launched Tuesday by the bipartisan political communications firm, will assist organizations in amplifying their social impact efforts and messaging to... Read More

Fortune Magazine Highlights 50 Companies Changing the World
Business
Fortune Magazine Highlights 50 Companies Changing the World
September 21, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

Fortune Magazine announced its annual “Changing the World” list of 50 companies that have tackled society’s most pressing needs and have made a positive and innovative social impact on the world. The 2020 “Changing the World” list marks Fortune’s sixth iteration of the annual list.  According... Read More

Comcast Gives Pennsylvania School Surprise Virtual Learning Boost
Education
Comcast Gives Pennsylvania School Surprise Virtual Learning Boost
September 21, 2020
by Dan McCue

Comcast gave students and teachers in a Pennsylvania school district a big surprise last week -- free Dell Laptops and a year of internet access to support virtual learning and help them overcome the coronavirus pandemic. The city of McKeesport, Pa., was recently ranked the fourth... Read More

Panel's Report Blasts Boeing, FAA for Crashes, Seeks Reforms
Transportation
Panel's Report Blasts Boeing, FAA for Crashes, Seeks Reforms

A House committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether Boeing and government regulators have recognized the problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and whether either will be willing to make significant changes to fix them. Staff members from the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee... Read More

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Committee, Vote in House Expected
Employment
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Committee, Vote in House Expected
September 15, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – A vote is expected in the House this week on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill that would require employers to provide “reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a... Read More

Restaurants Say Reservation Confirmations Are Not Nuisance Robocalls
Supreme Court
Restaurants Say Reservation Confirmations Are Not Nuisance Robocalls
September 14, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Restaurant Law Center wants the Supreme Court to overturn a 9th Circuit ruling that effectively classified calls and text messages to confirm dining reservations as nuisance robocalls. The Center, an industry association representing about 1 million restaurant and food service outlets across the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top