Ford Motor Company has agreed to pay a $2.96 million fine for violating air pollution regulations according to an announcement from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) yesterday. Ford was penalized for selling 2011 and 2012 model year Ford Fiesta vehicles in California that had non-compliant On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems and improperly designed data link connectors.
The devices are necessary to ensure proper operation of the engines and pollution control systems. Automobiles are a major source of emissions that form photochemical smog in California. Smog is of particular concern to Bakersfield and San Joaquin Valley residents, who live in an area with the third worst air quality in the nation according to the American Lung Association.
The problems were discovered during routine testing by ARB inspectors. The faulty systems did not properly monitor the functions of fuel systems, catalytic converters, and other key emission control devices. The data link problems interfered with the ability of smog check inspectors and independent service providers to diagnose whether systems were operating properly. Additionally, Ford failed to disclose vehicle calibration information that was required to determine the effectiveness of the OBDs.