April 26 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether Ford violated the U.S. emissions certification process, the latest in a string of carmakers attempting to skirt pollution tests.
Ford is conducting an internal investigation of its own to determine whether its vehicles get worse gas mileage and emit more pollutants than what's advertised on the sticker at dealerships.
In an SEC filing, Ford said it can't predict the outcome of the investigation and "cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material effect on us."
"We voluntarily disclosed this matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board on Feb. 18, 2019, and Feb. 21, 2019, respectively," Ford said in a statement.
The tests were related to road load estimations, analytical modeling and coastdown testing for fuel economy. The matter was initially raised by a whistle blower inside Ford in September. Ford first announced the internal investigation in February.
This would be different than the emissions violations committed by Volkswagen, which had devices specifically designed to cheat on diesel emissions tests by providing false data. Volkswagen paid $14.7 billion in civil penalties and $3 billion in criminal fines to settle its cheating scandal with EPA. Some VW executives faced criminal charges in Germany.
Fiat Chrysler agreed to pay $800 million in fines and compensation to owners of diesel trucks and jeeps to settle allegations that it installed software on vehicles to cheat emission tests.