Chrysler has been hit by a consumer lawsuit claiming that some of its diesel engines were rigged to hide emissions.
According to the lawsuit, Chrysler and technology partner Cummins produced engines spewing out up to 14 times more toxic emissions than permitted by law. It is said that these pollutants were supposed to be broken down inside the diesel engines but could often escape into the air.
The lawsuit comes on behalf of almost 500,000 Dodge Ram owners built between 2007 and 2012 and accuses both companies of fraud, racketeering and false advertising.
With this lawsuit, Chrysler becomes the first U.S. automaker to be sued by consumers, just over 12 months after Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal shook the industry.
In a statement, Steve Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said “The sheer level of fraud and concealment between Chrysler and Cummins is unconscionable, and we believe we have uncovered a deeply entrenched scheme. Chrysler and Cummins spent years lying through their teeth and making empty promises to deliver the cleanest trucks on the market — lip service to deceptively dominate what they saw as a profitable market.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Chrysler released the following statement;
“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.”
These sentiments were echoed by a Cummings spokesman who said “Cummins is deeply disappointed in this effort to tarnish our image and we plan to vigorously defend ourselves.
“Cummins has a robust certification and compliance process and we prohibit the use of defeat devices in our products. We’re transparent with all governing bodies in these processes, from the disclosure of the design and operation of the emission control systems, to test processes and results.”