During the saga of diesel-engine emissions “cheats,” first found in Volkswagens which only turned on certain pollution controls when they detected emissions testing routines, Cummins and Ram stood apart for a while as an example of how to do it well. Earlier, Cummins had met future diesel standards years before they were phased in.
It turns out now that Cummins was not completely clean, and, by association, neither was Ram. Cummins has agreed in principle to pay $1.7 billion in penalties for adding emissions-control defeat devices on hundreds of thousands of engines, according to the Justice Department, as quoted by Automotive News.
Emissions-control defeat devices were installed on 2013-19 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup engines, while these and other, unknown auxiliary devices were added to the 2019-23 Ram. The numbers add up to 630,000 2013-19 Rams and 330,000 2019-23 Rams. Only the Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups could be ordered with Cummins diesel. (The Ram 3500, 4500, and 5500 chassis cabs could also have a Cummins engine.)
Early estimates are that the devices added thousands of tons of nitrogen oxides to the air, beyond the legal amounts. Cummins is setting aside over $2 billion in the fourth quarter for related expenses, but denied culpability: “The company has seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit wrongdoing.”
The devices appear to have been disclosed during a 2019 review, and resulted in a recall to some Ram pickups.