One scandal closes—that being GM’s ignition switch recall—another one potentially opens. General Motors has been served a class action lawsuit over the alleged use of “defeat devices” in Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Duramax pickup trucks, reports Reuters.
The lawsuit accuses GM of employing three “defeat defeat” devices to pass federal and state emission tests. The devices allegedly allow the Duramax diesel engine to produce two to five times more NOx pollutants than legally allowed.
The vehicles in question are the 2011-2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models powered by GM’s Duramax diesel engine. The class action lawsuit covers 705,000 owners and lessees of the potentially affected trucks.
GM has outright denied the claims, which were filed by several law firms, including Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the same firm that helped reach multibillion-dollar settlements with VW and owners of over-polluting diesel vehicles. GM spokesman Dan Flores called the claims “baseless.”
It should be noted that auxiliary emission control devices are legal under the Clean Air Act, though their presence must be disclosed and explained thoroughly with the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB). The law permits these devices to protect the vehicle under various driving conditions. In contrast, and where Volkswagen went horrendously wrong, is the fact VW blatantly used them to cheat federal regulations.
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has also been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice after the automaker failed to properly explain the purpose of eight undisclosed emission control devices.
Potential fines for violating the Clean Air Act are set at $44,539 per affected vehicle. Do some quick math and GM better hope it has its story straight.