Cummins, one of the oldest and most respected names in diesel engines, may be regretting the day Dodge called to ask if it could buy diesel engines for its medium and heavy duty pickup trucks. Last August, Dodge sued Cummins for $60 million. That’s the amount of money Fiat Chrysler attorneys said the company has already spent to repair the emission systems on about 42,000 of the diesel trucks. The lawyers say the final costs could approach $200 million.
In a separate kerfluffle, FCA is working with the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board to resolve an issue with 2013 through 2015 model year Ram 2500 pickup trucks equipped with Cummins 6.7 liter diesel engines. Regulators found that moisture can cause deactivation of the catalyst reduction system, leading to excess nitrogen oxide emissions.
Now comes the final blow. On November 28, a Seattle law firm filed a class action suit in Detroit alleging that FCA and Cummins intentionally misled owners of Dodge Ram diesel powered heavy duty pickup trucks about their emission levels. The suit alleges that the particulate emissions from the trucks were greater than Dodge advertised which caused catalytic converters to wear out more quickly than expected. As a result. the trucks used more fuel than they should have according to the plaintiffs.
“The sheer level of fraud and concealment between Chrysler and Cummins is unconscionable, and we believe we have uncovered a deeply entrenched scheme,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law firm that filed the suit. For its part, FCA attorneys promised to “vigorously defend” against such scurrilous claims.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs are attempting to expand the class of potential claimants to include Ram 2500 and 3500 diesels going back as far as the 2007 model year. They claim what Dodge and Cummins did is similar to the actions taken by Volkswagen engineers to cheat on emissions tests.
FCA and Cummins claim the problem involves a component that didn’t function as designed. They insist there was no intention to mislead regulators or consumers but disagree over which of them is responsible.
Source: Detroit Free Press