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Diesel ‘cheat’ lawsuit brought against Ford

Lawyer up: An American law firm did its own emissions testing on Ford’s F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pick-ups before bringing a class action.

Ford F-Series Super Duty diesel has illegal emissions, US law firm claims

Ford logo11 Jan 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD Motor Company is facing an American customer class action claiming that its diesel-powered F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pick-ups emit at least twice – and perhaps 50 times – the legally allowed amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in their exhaust gases.

The suit, brought by law firm Hagens Berman in Ford’s home state of Michigan, could involve as many as 500,000 vehicles sold between 2011 and 2017.

Ford has strenuously denied the claim, saying it will fight the allegations.

The action envelops Ford in a growing club of motor companies facing emissions cheating claims. Others with civil suits underway in the US include Volkswagen, GM, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors.

Describing the Super Duty vehicles as “super dirty”, the law firm is suing Ford to reimburse customers the estimated $US8400 ($A10,672) premium paid for a big 6.7-litre diesel engine over a petrol equivalent.

“Ford marketed and sold these trucks as the ‘cleanest Super Diesel ever’, and said it used ‘proven technology and innovative Ford strategies to meet the latest federal emissions standards’,” Hagens Berman said in its public statement.

“Ford claimed it reduced nitrogen oxide by 80 per cent over previous models.

Simply put, Ford owners paid $8400 more, compared to gasoline-powered Super Duty trucks, for a diesel-powered truck that does not comply with federal standards.”

Component supplier Bosch also has been named in the law suit, with Hagens Berman alleging that the German-based company helped to develop emissions-cheating devices to mask illegal emissions.

Curiously, Hagens Berman says the illegal emissions from Ford vehicles came to light in the law company’s own emissions testing, adding: “Our firm’s independent research outpaces even government agencies.”

So far, the official US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not taken action against Ford, but Bosch, in its statement saying it would defend itself, might have inadvertently indicated that such an official investigation might be afoot, saying it was a “well-known fact that these allegations remain the subject of investigations. Bosch is co-operating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation ”.

Hagens Berman is one of America’s biggest automotive class-action litigants, bringing civil suits on behalf of vehicle owners on numerous issues, including against Volkswagen over dieselgate.

In its response to the suit, Ford released a statement: “All Ford vehicles, including those with diesel engines, comply with all US EPA and (California Air Resources Board) emissions regulations.

“Ford vehicles do not have defeat devices. We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims.”

The law suit comes at an awkward moment for Ford is just launching a diesel version of its top-selling F-150 in North America.

It is unclear how any such US action against Ford could play out in Australia where several private importers convert diesel Ford Super Duty pick-ups to right-hand drive and sell them to Australian customers.

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