Chevrolet Silverado

General Motors faces accusations of cheating emissions tests

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A legal case has been brought against General Motors (GM), accusing the car manufacturer of using multiple “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests. GM has denied any wrongdoing.

The case accuses GM of rigging hundreds of thousands of trucks with devices to ensure that they pass emissions tests. The lawsuit, filed in Detroit, alleges that GM used at least three different “defeat devices” in diesel vehicles equipped with Duramax engines.

The plaintiffs – Andrei Fenner of California and Joshua Herman of Lousiana – claim that they would not have bought, or would have paid less for, their GM trucks if they had known of the test rigging. GM stands accused of breaking racketeering and consumer protection laws.

According to the lawsuit, “on-road” emissions testing conducted for the claimants demonstrated that the GM vehicles produced levels of nitrogen oxide pollutants two to five times higher than allowed by regulators. The case could affect more than 705,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMS Sierra pickup trucks manufactured between 2011 and 2016 with Duramax engines.

“These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves,” said Dan Flores, a GM spokesperson. He said that the Duramax engine trucks comply with US Environmental Protection Agency regulations, as well as California’s own emissions standards.

Performance, horsepower and fuel economy would have to be sacrificed in order for the engines to meet emissions standards, the lawsuit says.

Bosch, the German electronics and engineering company, stands accused of helping develop the test cheating devices in an “unusually close” partnership with GM.

GM shares have plummeted in response to the news of the lawsuit. Already, GM have been forced to pay out $2.5bn in settlements and fines over faulty ignition switches, linked to 124 deaths.

In 2015, Volkswagen were found to have programmed their diesel engines to active emissions controls functions only during emissions testing, in order to give the semblance of meeting federal emissions standards. On the road, however, these vehicles emitted up to 40 times more than testing would suggest. Volkswagen were forced to pay a fine of $2.8bn in the US for its deceptions.

Since then, at least four other car manufacturers, including Peugeot and Renault, have been accused of cheating emissions tests to meet local emissions regulations.

In recent days, the US Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, accusing the automaker of using emissions test cheating software in 104,000 of its diesel vehicles, in addition to a criminal probe. Fiat Chrysler has denied any wrongdoing.

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