Several powerful law firms filed suit Thursday accusing General Motors of installing illegal software in diesel-powered vehicles in order to maneuver around regulations on fuel emissions.
The class-action lawsuit alleges GM affixed 705,000 late-model Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups with at least three so-called defeat devices to dupe air regulators. Lawyers filed the action in Detroit.
Hagens Berman Sobol, which succeeded in bringing a similar case against Volkswagen, was among several firms taking up the lawsuit.
The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to accuse GM of emissions violations.
Road emissions tests found that Duramax-engined trucks produced nitrogen oxide pollutants two to five times higher than allowed, according to the lawsuit. It also said modifying the engine to reduce emission levels would affect horsepower, among other performance measures.
GM denied installing any such devices, and a spokesman told reporters the automaker is in full compliance with the EPA’s regulations.
“These claims are baseless, and we will vigorously defend ourselves,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said.
Detroit-based GM has already paid about $2.5 billion in penalties associated with faulty ignition switches linked to several deaths. Regulators and officials have accused Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and Fiat Chrysler, among others, of engaging in similar activities.
Volkswagen, for its part, pleaded guilty in March to charges from “diesel gate,” which affected more than 500,000 vehicles and cost the automaker billions of dollars. VW was sentenced to three years probation and forced to pay billions of dollars in penalties.
The auto manufacturer admitted in 2015 to installing so-called defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. The devices would activate during road conditions when emission measuring tools were not engaged.
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Fiat Chrysler alleging the Italian auto company equipped devices to 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process.
Fiat maintained its innocence and promised earlier this month to update the software systems of more than 100,000 diesel vehicles.
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