Honda Settles U.S. Suit Over Nonroad-Engine Emisions

Honda Motor Co. agreed to pay $580,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. alleging the company imported 437,000 nonroad engines that violated emission standards.

The company also agreed to give up carbon credits, according to a consent decree filed today in federal court in Washington.

Honda denied the violations and admitted no liability, according to the agreement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge.

The case was settled to avoid the costs of litigation, “as well as the business distractions that litigation brings,” Honda said in a statement.

In the lawsuit filed, the government said that Honda imported the noncompliant engines for machines such as riding lawn mowers, water pumps and go-carts and asked for penalties of as much as $32,500 for each violation.

Imported Engines

The engines were imported from August 1, 2003, to January 31, 2008, and weren’t outfitted with mufflers or other emission-related equipment that were present on test engines submitted for certification by Honda to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the government’s complaint.

EPA representatives didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the settlement.

Honda notified the EPA in 2008 that “a number of its engines that were incorporated into third party ride-on lawn mowers unintentionally were configured with an incorrect component of the air intake system,” according to the company’s statement. “A subsequent recall action by one of the involved third parties was able to correct this discrepancy for many of the affected engines.”

Third party manufacturers were responsible for fitting the correct emissions control parts on engines because part specifications could vary depending on the product, according to the company statement.

The case is U.S. v. American Honda Motor Co., 13-cv-00912, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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