News, Class Actions, Defective Products

Lawsuit Filed against General Motors for False “Clean Diesel” Claims

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Consumers recently took action against General Motors (GM), filing a class action lawsuit regarding the company’s diesel engines that claimed to be “Clean Diesel” engines.

Although the initial suit challenges only the marketing and sale of the Chevrolet “Cruz”, our further investigation has confirmed that other “Clean Diesel” models, such as the “Colorado” and “Canyon” pick-ups were also falsely marketed and violate clean air standards.

In the wake of the major scandal involving Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles evading emissions standards with the help of certain software that turns off emissions controls when the vehicles are not being tested, reports and vehicle testing now indicate that GM’s so called “Clean Diesel” vehicle, the Chevrolet Cruze, emits far more pollution on the road than in lab tests and that these vehicles exceed federal and state emission standards. Real world testing has recently revealed that these vehicles emit dangerous oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at levels many times higher than (i) their gasoline counterparts, (ii) what a reasonable consumer would expect from a “Clean Diesel,” and (iii) United States Environmental Protection Agency maximum emissions standards.The GM “Clean Diesel” Cruz turns out to be far from “clean.”

GM has programmed its Cruze to turn off or otherwise limit the effectiveness of the emission reduction systems during driving conditions below 50ºF and above 85ºF, and emissions exceed U.S. limits by 1.8 to 13.8 times in other real-world driving conditions.  Testing has revealed that GM’s “clean diesel” engine does not meet emission standards in virtually all real world driving conditions. In virtually every road test at a variety of speeds and temperatures, the emissions exceeded U.S. emissions standards.  Testing also reveals that GM intentionally defeats emissions controls when the “clean diesel” engine is on the road, reducing the effectiveness of or turn off altogether the emissions controls in the vehicles.  This means that when GM cars are tested in the laboratory, they use a defeat device to obtain test results that appear to pass emissions standards.

GM never disclosed to consumers that its Cruze diesel engines may be “clean” diesels in very limited circumstances, but are “dirty” diesels under most driving conditions, exceeding the applicable emissions limits in real world driving conditions.

Dangers Of Nitrogen Oxide Exposure

The lawsuit also points out the danger posed to consumers driving these vehicles. Research has shown that exposure to the pollutants in question has been linked to serious health concerns, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses. There is also evidence that exposure to ozone and particulate matter is associated with premature death brought on by respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

According to the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, even limited exposure can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and cause coughing and shortness of breath, as well as buildup of fluid in the lungs within a day or two of exposure. High-level exposure can cause burning and damage to the throat and upper respiratory tract tissue, and can cause spasms, and if high levels build up, the consequences can be fatal.


Since its establishment in 1999, Seeger Weiss has led some of the most complex and high-profile litigations in the U.S.