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Emissions Defect Scandal Stench Still Lingers Around Auto Parts Supplier

What was the parts supplier’s role in the emissions defeat devices software scandal?

When reflecting on recent large-scale automotive consumer fraud cases, the Volkswagen brand immediately comes to mind.

The VW emissions-cheating scandal was previously discussed in detail most recently in this blog from June. In a nutshell, it involved the automaker’s installation of emission software that could cheat the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions test. The software had the capability of recognizing when the vehicle was undergoing emissions testing conditions and could enter “emissions test mode”, making the vehicle compliant so it would pass the test. However, during regular driving/non-test conditions, the software could make adjustments which permitted nitrogen—oxide emissions that exceeded the federal limit.

Approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide were impacted, giving the Volkswagen brand a proverbial “black-eye” and costing the company billions of dollars in buybacks, repairs, and other financial settlements once the scam was discovered.

But questions have arisen as to whether the company that designed the emissions-cheating software knew it contained an allegedly illegal emissions defeat device.

A recent study, commissioned “to automatically identify known defeat devices and confirm how they work” claims that “omissions defeat devices used by Volkswagen and allegedly by Fiat Chrysler were created by parts supplier Bosch”. The researchers reportedly admitted that although the study was based on documents which contained Bosch copyright notices, the documents were not authenticated by or received directly from Bosch.

Bosch, the largest automotive parts supplier, reportedly previously denounced what it called “wild and unfounded” claims that it “worked with Volkswagen to conceal the illegal software”. Skeptics no doubt question if the involvement of “federal prosecutors and multiple lawsuits” may suggest otherwise.

Other legal headaches for the parts giant reportedly include “price-fixing and bid–rigging” lawsuits. Bosch reportedly recently agreed to pay over $30 million to settle price-fixing lawsuits regarding “fuel injection systems, starters and windshield wiper components”. The settlement follows a reported Bosch guilty plea to settle charges in a 2013 price-fixing and bid-rigging case involving “spark plugs, oxygen sensors, and starter motors sold to auto and engine manufacturers”.

Emissions-cheating software systems are an example of consumer fraud and false advertising that not only dupes the consumer into thinking they are buying an environmentally-safe and compliant vehicle, but also potentially harms the general public who is exposed to the knowingly-excessive nitrogen-oxide omissions.

If you have purchased or leased a Volkswagen impacted by the emissions defect or any other recall, the attorneys at Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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