Ford Motor Company announced that officials in Canada opened a preliminary investigation into its emissions certification process. The Canadian investigation comes after Ford admitted a year ago that an internal investigation was underway over potentially misstated fuel economy ratings for some of its vehicles. Ford said the misstated fuel economy numbers had to do with something called “road load” that was incorrectly used in testing its vehicles. Employees first raised the issue via Ford’s internal reporting mechanisms.
Canada isn’t the first government to look into potentially misstated fuel economy numbers, the United States Department of Justice has also opened an investigation into Ford emissions and fuel economy numbers. Ford hired outside investigators to look into its numbers and has hired an outside law firm. We’ve not heard anything about the Department of Justice investigation into the issue since last year. Ford has been clear that the potential concern does not involve the use of defeat devices.
Ford says that it continues to cooperate with governmental agencies in the investigation. A report from last April claimed that Ford had held meetings with the EPA and other agencies and turned over documents relating to its internal review along with a testing plan that was approved by regulators. It’s unclear at this time how far along the Canadian investigation might be.
We do know is that even if Ford accidentally misstated fuel economy numbers, the mistake opens it up to significant penalties and potential lawsuits from vehicle owners who often purchase based on fuel economy numbers. In the wake of the VW emissions scandal, state and federal agencies are looking to crack down on any automaker misstating fuel economy and emissions data. Ford has made no official comments on the Canadian investigation at this time.