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Ford says Justice Dept, California end investigation into emissions issue

Ford Motor confirmed on Friday the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board have put an end to a lengthy investigation into the automaker’s emissions certification process without taking any action.

Ford said in a securities filing that reviews by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environment and Climate Change Canada remain open.

Ford first revealed the criminal investigation in April 2019 and earlier hired outside law firm Sidley Austin and experts to probe its vehicle fuel economy and testing procedures after workers raised concerns about analytical modeling that is part of its fuel economy and emissions compliance process.

Ford said Friday the investigations’ closure was consistent with the company’s own investigation and conclusion that the company has appropriately completed the certification processes.

Ford refused to release findings from its own investigation and said it has not modified any fuel economy ratings as a result.

Ford faces a class-action lawsuit from owners who claim the automaker has cheated on its fuel economy testing on some of its best-selling and most popular trucks and said the issue affected more than a million Ford truck owners.

The lawsuit claims that independent testing carried out on Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger vehicles has vindicated the concerns of both consumers and Ford’s own employees: Ford did not follow appropriate coastdown testing procedures and instead revealed inaccurate resistance figures to boost the MPG Rating of its F-150 and Ranger vehicles. Coastdown testing measures the effects of wind and road resistance on a coasting vehicle.

The lawsuit said “extra fuel costs for all 2018 and 2019 F-150s would total about $2.32 billion for city driving, $2.09 billion highway, and $1.9 billion combined.

Ford did not discuss the lawsuit Friday but argues in court papers it should be rejected, saying owners are implausibly claiming that the automaker had a duty to disclose the ‘true fuel economy’ for the subject vehicles as if such a figure really exists.

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