Diesel Emissions Defect Cost Consumers $3,000-$5,000, Suit Alleges. Fiat Chrysler and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. are facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 2500 and 3500 Dodge RAM truck owners who allege the companies engaged in diesel emissions fraud. Allegedly, the companies intentionally built the vehicles with an emissions defect that can cost consumers $3,000 to $5,000 in repairs.
The class action alleges that Fiat Chrysler and Cummins deceived both consumers and regulators into believing that the vehicles met emission standards, when in reality, the trucks release illegally high levels of NOx emissions.
Parker Waichman LLP has spent years representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective products, including automobiles. The firm is offering free legal consultations to anyone with questions about filing an emissions fraud lawsuit.
Dodge RAM vehicles with Cummins diesel engines include: 2007-2010 Dodge RAM 2500 (2WD, 4WD), 2011-2012 Dodge RAM 2500 (non-SCR systems, 2WD, 4WD), 2007-2010 Dodge RAM 3500 (2WD, 4WD) and 2011-2012 Dodge RAM 3500 (non-SCR systems, 2WD, 4WD).
Allegedly, the diesel engines manufactured by Cummins fail to show the true emissions output. The lawsuit alleges that the catalytic converter is worn out more quickly and the vehicle ends up burning fuel at a higher rate. Ultimately, the class action alleges, consumers often spend $3,000 to $5,000 to replace the converter after the warranty has expired.
The class action alleges Fiat Chrysler and Cummins intentionally deceived consumers by hiding true emissions levels and illegally selling vehicles that do not meet emissions standards. Plaintiffs allege that these actions constitute fraudulent concealment, false advertising, and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and consumer-protection laws.
Diesel Engine Allegedly Cheats Emission Standards
The suit alleges Fiat Chrysler and Cummins used new emission standards announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001, set to take place in 2010, to drive their own profits. Plaintiffs say the problem stems from the 6.7-liter diesel engine with sophisticated NOx adsorber technology, which uses a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and NOx adsorber catalyst to convert NOx into substances that are less toxic, such as nitrogen and oxygen.
According to the lawsuit, however, the catalysts cannot withstand normal use and the technology fails to meet emissions standards. Plaintiffs allege that the emissions are nearly 10 times the federal standards when the injection of fuel regenerates the DPF, which allegedly occurs with excessive frequency.
For stop-and-go driving, federal regulators have set a legal NOx emissions limit of 200 mg/mile. The lawsuit alleges that Dodge RAM 2500 vehicles exceed this limit, citing alleged tests that show emissions of 702 mg/mile on average and 2,826 mg/mile at maximum emissions. In California and other states that have adopted its standard, the NOx limit for highway emissions is 400 mg/mile.
The lawsuit alleges that the Dodge RAM vehicles emit an average of 756 mg/mile and a maximum of 2,252 mg/mile. The plaintiffs allege that as these emissions are released, the driver is completely unaware because the on-board diagnostic (OBD) does not show that emissions are exceeding legal limits.
Plaintiffs also take issue with marketing claims involving the Adsorber Engine and the Dodge RAM 2500 and 3500. According to the lawsuit, the diesel engine was touted as the “strongest, cleanest, quietest” in its class.
Consumers were also told the engine was “squeaky clean”, “super clean”, “a model of cleanliness”, “so clean it warrants a class of its own,” and had “durability so impressive, it approaches the inexhaustible.”
The class action alleges that the two companies conspired to dodge emission standards and schemed to drive profits. Plaintiffs allege that the deceptive marketing was largely successful because the companies plotted together.
In June 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared diesel engine exhaust carcinogenic. The agency said the decision was “based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.”
Diesel exhaust had been deemed “probably carcinogenic” in 1988.
In May, Germany threatened to ban sales of Fiat Chrysler vehicles over diesel emissions. The country’s Federal Motor Transport Authority alleged that the vehicles contain a device used to cheat European emission standards. In the European Union, a standard diesel emissions test takes 20 minutes to complete. German regulators said the defect device turns off certain emissions controls after 22 minutes.