The U.S. Justice Department has started a criminal investigation into Ford Motor’s emissions certification process in the country, the automaker revealed on Friday, saying it was working with the probe and still carrying out its own internal review.
Ford stated the Justice Department had informed it earlier this month of the criminal investigation, which made the automaker the newest to come under scrutiny for adherence to emissions standards by U.S. authorities.
“Ford is fully cooperating with the government, and we’ll keep them posted on what we’re finding through our investigation and technical review,” the company stated.
Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr refused to discuss. The Environmental Protection Agency refused to comment as well.
Ford has held meetings with the California Air Resources Board and EPA officials and turned over files associated with its review, a person briefed on the matter stated. The automaker has also submitted a testing plan that has been authorized by regulators, the person stated. The first vehicle Ford is reviewing is the 2019 Ranger pickup truck.
Ford potentially faces major financial penalties as regulators have taken hard steps on emissions issues.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated previously this month the agency had other enforcement actions against other companies “in the works.”
“When people are not playing by the rules and they are creating more pollution … we will catch them, we will hold them accountable,” Wheeler stated.
Ford revealed an issue with emissions to the EPA and California in February and hired outside law firm Sidley Austin and analysts to investigate 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 stated earlier it did not know whether it would have to correct data given to regulators or consumers. But the automaker reiterated in a regulatory filing Friday that the emissions issue does not associate the use of so-called defeat devices.