Law­suit al­leges GM cheated on diesel pickup emis­sions


Some Gen­eral Mo­tors truck own­ers are al­leg­ing in a law­suit that the com­pany cheated on gov­ern­ment diesel emis­sions tests.

The law­suit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit al­leges that GM pickup trucks with Du­ra­max diesel en­gines have three de­vices on them that are rigged to al­low more pol­lu­tion on the road than dur­ing tread­mill tests in the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency lab­o­ra­tory.

GM said the al­le­ga­tions are with­out merit.

The law­suit filed by the Ha­gens Ber­man firm of Seat­tle al­leges the trucks emit two to five times the le­gal limit for harm­ful ni­tro­gen ox­ide. Also named as a de­fen­dant is Robert Bosch LLC, which made GM’s elec­tronic diesel con­trols. Bosch says it is co-op­er­at­ing with gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tions into emis­sions cases and “de­fend­ing its in­ter­ests” in law­suits.

Diesel en­gines have been un­der scru­tiny world­wide since Volk­swa­gen ad­mit­ted that its diesel cars cheated on tests.

The com­plaint against GM al­leges the de­vices were in­stalled on diesel en­gines in Chevro­let Sil­ver­ado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pick­ups. Two de­vices cut emis­sions con­trols when the air tem­per­a­ture is above or be­low the range in gov­ern­ment lab tests. The other drops the level of emis­sions con­trols when the trucks are run­ning con­tin­u­ously for 200 to 500 sec­onds. Gov­ern­ment tests don’t last that long, the law­suit says.

The suit de­mands a jury trial and seeks puni­tive dam­ages, resti­tu­tion, and re­cov­ery of the pur­chase price of the trucks or the de­crease in their val­ues be­cause of the de­vices.

GM called the claims “base­less” and said in a state­ment it would vig­or­ously de­fend it­self. “The Du­ra­max Diesel Chevro­let Sil­ver­ado and GMC Sierra com­ply with all U.S. EPA and CARB (Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board) emis­sions reg­u­la­tions.”

The law­suit came just two days af­ter the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment sued Fiat Chrysler on be­half of the EPA al­leg­ing that some of its Ram diesel pickup trucks cheat on pol­lu­tion tests. Fiat Chrysler has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

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