Crusading Law Firm Believes German Auto Supplier Behind VW-Like Scandals

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Attorneys representing owners in lawsuits accusing Volkswagen and automakers of duping regulators believe a German auto supplier is largely responsible for the years-long fuel emission scandal.

Robert Bosch is the common thread linking together the emission scandals plaguing Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors, according to a Hagens Berman Sobol, the law firm that has represented vehicle owners in lawsuits against the three companies.

GM vehicle owners alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the company affixed 705,000 late-model Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups with at least three so-called defeat devices to dupe air regulators. Hagens Berman claimed that Bosch, which is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, developed a type of device that allowed all three companies to manipulate fuel emission levels.

Bosch “participated not just in the development of the defeat device, but in the scheme to prevent U.S. regulators from uncovering the device’s true functionality,” according to the lawsuit filed in Detroit federal court.

“We believe Bosch was the enabler,” Steve Berman, a managing partner at Hagens Berman, told reporters. “They provided the software in a format where manufacturers and Bosch could work together to calibrate their engines to cheat emissions tests.”

Bosch’s technology can determine when a vehicle was being tested in a lab or smog station to feign clean emissions, according to U.S. regulators.

“Bosch takes the allegations of manipulation of the diesel software very seriously,” Bosch said in a statement Thursday. “Bosch is cooperating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation.”

GM, meanwhile, denied installing any such devices, and a spokesman told reporters the automaker is in full compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations. “These claims are baseless, and we will vigorously defend ourselves,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said.

EPA has not yet commented on the validity of the lawsuit against GM. In fact, the agency approved the company’s application to produce and sell its 2017 Duramax diesel-powered vehicles.

The EPA has not responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment about the dynamics of the scandal engulfing the companies.

VW 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 German-based automaker admitted in 2015 to installing so-called defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. The Bosch devices would activate during road conditions when emission measuring tools were not engaged.

Department of Justice officials filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Fiat 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, like GM, has  maintained its innocence and promised earlier this month to update the software systems of more than 100,000 diesel vehicles.

Fiat plans on updating the software systems of more than 100,000 late model Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 diesels, despite maintaining it has not engaged in a scandal like the one that has engulfed Volkswagen since 2015.

Fiat sold more than 50,000 light duty diesel Rams in 2015 and 2016, a number far outmatching those sold by other competitors in the diesel market. EPA has yet to approve and certify the company to sell those models this year until Fiat can rig up a fix sufficient to satisfy the Justice Department.

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