As Ford Faces 500K Truck Recall, Carmakers Must Be Asking Is Diesel Worth It?
Ford, Bosch sued for diesel ‘defeat devices’
Is it worth it? That must be the question running through every diesel vehicle manufacturer, following the Volkswagen’s scandalous use of an emissions-busting “defeat device.” And, news that other makers are up to their tailpipes in diesel problems. For example, Ford faces a suit and recall of more than 500,000 Super Duty trucks. Its supplier Bosch has been charged with creating the device. Fiat Chrysler Autos (FCA) is up to its lugnuts in diesel trouble over its RAM and Jeep diesels.
Ford faces suit over software-based ‘defeat device’
Indeed, a “defeat device” was at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal that roiled VW for nearly two years. The scandal resulted in the conviction of at least three key VW executives and the indictment of six more. The cost of the scandal keeps growing. In Germany, recently investigators the homes of key execs. And, investors and consumers have brought their own actions. So far, VW has spent nearly $30 billion for U.S. settlements, fines, and penalties. Plus, VW’s reputation has taken a walloping.
Ford is facing the recall of up to 500,000 Super Duty turbodiesel pickups for use of a “defeat device” to enhance diesel test results.Why did VW do it? The answer is complexly simple. The automaker couldn’t pass emissions tests for some complex reasons, so it resorted to simply cheating. The “defeat device” is the cheater’s way of passing clean air tests.
Though each device is slightly different, they are all the same in theory. Diesels are neither the performance champs of the world. Nor, are they the fuel economy leaders, either.
If an engine were to remain in emissions control rather than performance mode, drivers would be disappointed with performance and economy, and would abandon their vehicles in a mad scramble to find replacements. Like as not, the replacements would be electrics or hybrids. After all, most diesel drivers were driving wanted vehicles that not only got good mileage but also performed well. And they wanted cars that were cleaner than standard internal engine (ICE) vehicles. That is why they turned to turbodiesels.
Even after Ford faces troubles, it’s still selling them
You would think that with Ford and Bosch are facing class action lawsuits, FCA, Chevy and GMC would hesitate to sell them. The action against Ford claims that the automaker installed “defeat devices” on more than 500,000 2011-2017 F-250 and F-350 Super Dutys to meet clean air laws. The suit also states that these vehicles can produce from 5 to 50 times more nitrous oxide (NOx) than allowed by law. Bosch faces suit because it supplied the electronic diesel control (EDC) that provided the basis for the “defeat device.” Bosch also faced suits in the Dieselgate scandal, independent of VW, regarding the same issues. It settled with the U.S. for more than $3 billion.