Cummins, FCA to fight lawsuit alleging diesel emissions violations

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Both Cummins and FCA announced today that they will vigorously fight a class action lawsuit filed this week alleging that both companies backed an effort to conceal emissions violations on diesel-equipped Ram pickups.

The news follows FCA’s decision last month to sue Cummins for $60 million over a selective catalyst reduction (SCR) system that both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board say is defective and can lead to an increase in exhaust emissions.

On Monday, a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Detroit on behalf of nearly a half-million Ram truck owners alleges that both Cummins and FCA neglected to tell consumers that exhaust from certain Cummins diesel engines has been emitting nearly double the amount of pollutants allowed by law. The lawsuit also alleges that changes made to emissions reduction technology reduced fuel efficiency by as much as four percent.

The claims involve heavy-duty 2007 and 2012 Ram pickups, according to the Chicago Tribune. Cummins’ 6.7-liter turbo diesel engine was available for both of those trucks.

Cummins issued a statement on its website denying claims made in the lawsuit, including the accusation that some of its engines installed in Ram pickups have been releasing excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide.

“Yesterday, a class action lawsuit was filed against Cummins (CMI) and Fiat Chrysler (FCA) alleging, among other things, that we violated various emissions standards and regulations. This lawsuit has no merit and contains false and exaggerated claims. Cummins will combat these claims vigorously.

“Cummins is deeply disappointed in this effort to tarnish our image and standing as a company. Cummins and Chrysler/FCA have been strong partners for more than 30 years, and we are committed to providing high quality products and service for our customers.

“Cummins has robust certification and compliance processes, adhering to all emissions regulations worldwide, and we prohibit the use of defeat devices in all of our products.  We are transparent with all governing bodies in these processes, from disclosure of the design and operation of the emission control system, to test processes and results and later to any necessary reporting and corrective action processes if required.

“Cummins works collaboratively and proactively with emission regulators globally to ensure emission standards are clear, appropriately stringent and enforceable, in an effort to ensure our products deliver on our commitments to our customers and the environment in real world use every day.”

FCA responded to Hard Working Trucks request for comment with the following response:

“FCA US has received notice of the filing against FCA US and Cummins Inc. of a complaint related to the emissions performance of certain Ram trucks.

“FCA US is reviewing the complaint. Based on the information available to it, FCA US does not believe that the claims brought against it are meritorious.

“FCA US will contest this lawsuit vigorously.”

Besides fraud, Cummins and FCA are also facing accusations of false advertising and racketeering. The lawsuit contends that more stringent emissions standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and made effective for heavy-duty diesel engines in 2010 led Cummins and FCA to meet the standards three years ahead of time. However, in doing so, the complainants say that Cummins developed an engine that releases excessive emissions.