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United States v. Chrysler Corp.

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20817
Nos. No. 76-0031, 437 F. Supp. 94/10 ERC 1948/(D.D.C., 09/13/1977)

This case concerns the improper assembly by defendant of a number of 1974 model year vehicles. Section 203(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7522, ELR STAT. & REG. 42244, prohibits the introduction, or delivery for introduction, into commerce of any vehicle not covered by a certificate of conformity. The certificate issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is applicable to these vehicles covers only those that conform to the design specifications described in Chrysler's application for the certificate. Inspections by EPA and the California Air Resources Board uncovered 37 vehicles equipped with distributors, carburetors, exhaust gas recirculation valves, and/or orifice spark advance controls with part numbers other than those specified on the application.

These incorrect parts intimately relate to and can be reasonably expected to affect emission controls. There is no evidence that the 37 vehicles in question do not in fact conform to California and federal emission standards, however. The 37 cars were introduced or delivered for introduction into commerce.

The court concludes that where parts erroneously installed in a vehicle intimately relate to and can reasonably be expected to affect emission controls, the vehicle is not covered by the certificate of conformity for that vehicle type even though it may in fact meet emission standards. Chrysler has therefore committed 37 violations of §203(a)(1), and imposition of a civil penalty is authorized by §205 of the Act. In view of the circumstances and the corrective measures taken by defendant to prevent future mis-assembly, the court imposes a penalty of $100 for each of the 37 violations and denies any further relief.

The complaint in this case is available from ELR and is digested at ELR PEND. LIT. 65434.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (7 pp. $1.00, ELR Order No. C-1140).

Counsel for Plaintiff
John E. Varnum
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 737-8200

Counsel for Defendant
James A. Hourihan
Hogan & Hartson
815 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 331-4544

Hart, J.