Ford Motor Co. saw its stock fall Thursday after regular business hours after the company revealed an internal investigation to determine if its vehicles had lower gas mileage and emitted more pollutants than the vehicles reveal. labels of cars, trucks and SUVs.

An anonymous Ford "Speak Up" reporting system raised the issue in September 2018, the company said.

The next generation of Ford's medium-sized Ranger pickup truck will likely form the basis of a pickup truck that Volkswagen will sell in South America, Africa and Europe. (Photo11: Mark Phelan)

Ford announced Thursday it hired an outside team to assess whether Ford 's mathematical model was wrong in the way it determined the miles per gallon and emissions ratings.

To begin this review, Ford said, he will begin testing the new, very popular 2019 Ranger Intermediate Pickup, which has just gone on sale. And then other models would be tested.

The Ranger was recalled on February 6 for faulty wiring that could prevent the pickup from moving around properly and parking safely.

Ford officials pointed out that the fuel and emissions ratings survey was in its preliminary stages and that there was no sign of a problem at the moment.

A Ford spokesman declined to say how many vehicles could be allocated for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 model years.

Said Deep, spokesman for Ford, said: "As soon as we learned of the concerns of our employees in September, we hired a third-party firm at the end of October to conduct an initial review that It was completed in December We launched a full internal investigation in December disclosing our investigation to the EPA and CARB.We estimate that the full investigation will take several more months. "

In its press release on Thursday, Ford announced that the company had alerted California regulators, who are exceptionally strict in terms of monitoring pollution in one of the world's largest auto markets.

But Dave Clegern, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, told the Free Press later Thursday that "for the moment, CARB has not received notification of Ford's mileage problem."

Ford's shares plummeted after normal business hours after the company announced the certification process.

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Michael Abboud, spokesman for the EPA, confirmed to the Free Press that Ford had communicated a few days before publishing its public statement Thursday.

"On February 18, 2019, Ford revealed to the US EPA that it had uncovered potential problems in its emissions certification processes," Abboud said. "On February 20, 2019, Ford informed the agency of the information it had developed so far in the investigation. The investigation is ongoing and the information is too incomplete for the EPA to draw conclusions. We take potential issues very seriously and follow up with the company to fully understand the circumstances behind this disclosure. "

Late Thursday, Safe Climate Campaign, Public Citizen and Sierra Club issued a statement through the Sierra Club:

"It is shameful that Ford has waited months before revealing its emissions control issues."

Karl Brauer, executive editor at Kelley Blue Book, congratulated Ford for its proactive action and for informing the public.

"I think it's really smart for Ford to deal with this situation," he said. "Obviously, they have discovered something that might suggest a lack of precision in the way they define and determine the fuel efficiency of their cars. They started digging the question and wanted to have a solution before saying anything. Now they let everyone know. "

Ford deserves to be recognized for its program that solves potential problems, Brauer said.

Kim Pittel, Group Vice President for Sustainable Development, Environment and Safety at Ford, said in a statement: "In September, a handful of employees expressed concern via our reporting channel Speak Up employees regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our American system. fuel economy and emissions compliance process. "

Ford officials said they believe that brand trust "is earned by acting with integrity and transparency."

Pittel described actions to include:

  • Hiring an outside company to conduct an investigation of the vehicle's load specifications used in testing and applications to certify emissions and fuel economy. The load on the road is a vehicle-specific level of resistance used in vehicle dynamometer tests, including fuel consumption ratings and emissions certifications. The load on the road is established by means of technical models validated by vehicle tests, including physical track tests, called downhill tests.
  • Hire independent technical experts from the industry as part of Ford's investigation team.
  • Hiring an independent laboratory to perform other deceleration tests.
  • Assessment of potential changes to Ford's workload modeling process, including engineering, technical and governance components.
  • Volunteer sharing this week of potential concerns with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the California (California) Air Resources Board.

"For the moment, it has not been determined that this would affect Ford's fuel economy labels or emission certifications," said Pittel. "We plan to work with regulators and the independent lab to complete a technical review. As part of our review, we identified potential problems with how we calculate the load on the road. The first vehicle we are evaluating is the 2019 Ranger; we are also evaluating additional vehicles. "

Problems of labeling in 2014

This latest labeling problem is not the first for Ford, which sent checks to 215,000 owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles in June 2014 after buying vehicles whose odds are as high as $ 25,000. fuel economy were inaccurate. The models included the 2014 Ford Fiesta as well as the hybrid version of the 2013-14 Ford Fusion, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ hybrids and the Energi C-Max hybrid plug-in.

At that time, the odds were 1 to 7 m.p.g. The reimbursement depended on whether the vehicles were rented or purchased. Checks ranged from $ 124 for a rented Fiesta to $ 1,050 for a Lincoln MKZ purchased.

Raj Nair, then head of Ford's global product development, said a gap in testing had been detected in October 2013 and that later tests had pinpointed the problem to a new process of correlating the results. obtained in the wind tunnel. These figures make it possible to determine the level of resistance defined on the dynamometer testing the mileage of the vehicle.

After the incident, Ford agreed to strengthen future vehicle validation testing under EPA oversight to prevent the recurrence of the error.

According to reports from 2014, it was the second time in a year that Ford had to lower the mileage traveled on some models. In 2013, Ford voluntarily lowered its claim for the C-Max hybrid from 47 to 43 pg. After Ford tested the Hybrid Fusion and applied the same numbers to the other vehicle.

Emissions Regulations 2019 FCA

Precise labeling is also a problem for other car manufacturers.

In January 2019, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles settled a case with the US Department of Justice in response to irregularities in diesel emissions and concealment attempts to mislead regulators. As a result, affected vehicle owners received cash payments of more than $ 3,000 each.

By including civil penalties of about $ 400 million, an extended warranty, a draft class action settlement and other costs, FCA should spend more than $ 790 million to resolve claims. allegations of fraud involving around 100,000 Ram 1500 Eco-diesel pickups 2014-16 and Jeep Grand Cherokees.

While the FCA has refused to admit wrongdoing, Volkswagen has confessed to cheating on diesel emissions tests in the United States. The two companies were accused of installing software called "invalidation device", which allowed vehicles to pollute more on the roads than during testing.

Ford explicitly noted Thursday that no defeat device had been used.

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: [email protected] or 313-222-6512. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid

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