Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Ford probing possible problems with fuel economy, emissions tests

DETROIT: Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it has hired outside experts to investigate its vehicle fuel economy and testing procedures after employees raised concerns, and did not know whether it would have to correct data provided to regulators or consumers.

The issues involving Ford’s testing processes do not involve the use of so-called defeat devices – hardware and software designed deliberately to deceive government emissions tests, Kimberly Pittel, Ford’s group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Reuters.

The automaker since last fall has been investigating concerns raised by employees that incorrect calculations were used to translate test results into the mileage and emissions data submitted to regulators, Pittel said.

Ford said it was evaluating changes to the process it uses to develop fuel economy and emissions figures, “including engineering, technical and governance components.”

Ford shares dipped slightly in after-hours trading following the disclosure.

Ford has hired the law firm Sidley Austin to lead an independent investigation into possible discrepancies in calculations used to produce emissions and fuel economy figures, Pittel said. The company is using an independent laboratory to conduct testing.

US and California regulators have been cracking down on automakers for emissions cheating following revelations in 2015 that German automaker Volkswagen AG had used defeat devices to make models equipped with diesel engines appear to comply with emissions standards when they emitted far more pollution than allowed in real-world driving.

“We have voluntarily shared this information” with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, Pittel said. Ford notified the agencies this week, she said.

The EPA said in a statement on Thursday that information from Ford’s investigation is “too incomplete for EPA to reach any conclusions. We take the potential issues seriously and are following up with the company to fully understand the circumstances behind this disclosure.”

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