Volvo fined $72 million by U.S. district court

Automaker dinged for noncompliant engine emissions

There’s plenty of toxic air spouted in Washington on any given day, but at least this time, the foul emissions were coming from truck engines and not pundits, politicians and the like. The U.S. government decided to take Swedish truckmaker Volvo Powertrain Corp., a unit of Volvo AB, to task for violating a consent decree it signed in 1998, and fined the company $72,006,337 in penalties and interest.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order to Volvo on April 13 to make the payment on a dispute relating to emission compliance of 8,354 model year 2005 Volvo Penta engines.

In 1998, the U.S. brought enforcement actions against numerous truck engine manufacturers, alleging that a feature of their fuel injection systems violated the Clean Air Act. The government argued that the engine manufacturers were purposely dodging the regulations with creative programming of those systems, which the manufacturers denied.

After years of negotiations, both parties agreed to a series of similar consent decrees by which the manufacturers would have to meet new emission standards for their heavy-duty diesel engines. While the court recognized that Volvo Penta is not party to the consent decree, it said those engines are subject to the decree requirements.

Volvo disagrees, noting that the decree covers only Volvo Powertrain in-highway engines and Volvo Construction Equipment non-road engines.

Volvo will appeal the decision.

The U.S. government also cracked down on another truck manufacturer in February. The Environmental Protection Agency informed Navistar International Corp. that it is investigating whether 7,600 engines the company built in 2009 comply with the Clean Air Act.

If found not to be in compliance, Navistar could face fines of up to $37,500 for each violation, which means it could end up paying as much as $285 million in fines.

For more on Volvo, read Fox Business.

For more on Navistar, read “EPA investigating Navistar’s diesel-engine production.”

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