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Piaggio, Suzuki Hit with Fines by CARB

Mon, 01 Apr 2013

The California Air Resources Board has agreed to settlements with Suzuki and Piaggio for selling motorcycles that the companies did not disclose could be modified to exceed the state’s strict emission standards.

Suzuki was hit with the larger of the two penalties, agreeing to a fine of $3,020,000, though the amount could be reduced by $1,812,000 if Suzuki follows certain provisions. The penalty is in addition to the previous fine of $885,000 levied by the Environmental Protection Agency for selling 25,396 LT-R450 ATVs and 62 RMX450Z dirtbikes with a racing map programmed into their ECUs that was not certified or tested. This racing map is not initially accessible to customers, unless they buy aftermarket devices to unlock the higher-performance engine mapping.

Under EPA and CARB regulations, manufacturers are required to disclose any such engine modifications when seeking approval to sell its vehicles. CARB did not specify the models involved in its own case, so other models besides the ones in the EPA case may be involved. CARB does say engine mapping significantly increases smog-forming emissions and therefore should have been disclosed.

CARB is giving Suzuki a chance to reduce its penalty because it was the manufacturer itself that brought the problem up with CARB. Because of Suzuki’s cooperation, the fine may be reduced to $1,208,000 if Suzuki completes two vehicle emission reduction programs and does not produce any more vehicles with undisclosed engine calibrations over the next two years.

Piaggio‘s penalty is not as severe, with the manufacturer agreeing to pay a $175,000 penalty ($4,375 for 40 separate vehicles under its Aprilia brand). According to DealerNews, Piaggio sold or offered to sell 40 motorcycles prior to 2011 that either had undisclosed adjustable parameters that affect emissions like the Suzuki models, were allowed to be adjusted by Aprilia dealers to exceed certified configurations, or were imported and offered for sale in California before receiving CARB certification.

[Source: CARB, DealerNews]

By Dennis Chung

See also: Suzuki Quitting Car Business in Canada by 2014, Rainy BSB tests are nothing new, Dropped Suzuki Dealerships Represented Only 2.5% of Retail Sales.