The fallout from Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal continues to send shockwaves through the automotive industry and it appears the latest target is Ford.
In a Form 10-Q filing (PDF) for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford said they have “become aware of a potential concern involving its U.S. emissions certification process.”
The company said the matter is related to “road load estimations, including analytical modeling and coastdown testing,” but noted it doesn’t involve the use of defeat devices. The automaker went on to say they voluntarily disclosed the issue to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board in February. This has now resulted in the Department of Justice opening a criminal investigation.
Ford said they are “fully cooperating with all government agencies,” but the investigation is still in preliminary stages. As a result, the automaker doesn’t know what the outcome will be and can’t guarantee it won’t negatively impact them.
Despite this, Ford’s cautionary note on forward-looking statements said the automaker “could experience unusual or significant litigation, governmental investigations, or adverse publicity arising out of alleged defects in products, perceived environmental impacts, or otherwise.” That sounds like Ford is preparing for the worst, but these kinds of statements aren’t too unusual.
Little else is known about the issue, but emission investigations have become somewhat of a regular occurrence following the dieselgate scandal. The DOJ and EPA sued Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine in 2017. That case was settled earlier this year when FCA agreed to recall and repair more than 100,000 vehicles in the United States which the government alleged had “illegal and undisclosed software” which acted as a defeat device. The issue will cost the company approximately $800 (£618 / €716) million including a $305 (£235 / €273) million penalty.