Washington/San Francisco — Robert Bosch, the world’s largest vehicle-parts supplier, was linked to emissions-cheating allegations against a fourth vehicle maker on Thursday, raising questions about the German company’s role in the scandal gripping the car industry.
Bosch and General Motors (GM) are co-defendants in a lawsuit filed on Thursday by owners of diesel-powered pick-ups who accused the vehicle maker of using illegal software, known as a defeat device, to pass US emissions tests.
Bosch “participated not just in the development of the defeat device, but in the scheme to prevent US regulators from uncovering the device’s true functionality”, according to the lawsuit filed in Detroit federal court.
“We believe Bosch was the enabler,” said attorney Steve Berman, a managing partner at Hagens Berman, who has represented vehicle owners in lawsuits against all four car makers and Bosch over diesel cheating. “They provided the software in a format where manufacturers and Bosch could work together to calibrate their engines to cheat emissions tests.”
The technology was so sophisticated that it could recognise when a car was being tested in a lab or smog station to feign clean emissions and compliance with pollution standards, according to US regulators.
“Bosch takes the allegations of manipulation of the diesel software very seriously,” the Stuttgart-based parts supplier said in an e-mailed statement. “Bosch is co-operating with the continuing investigations in various jurisdictions, and is defending its interests in the litigation.”
This is the fourth time in less than two years that vehicle makers using Bosch’s diesel engine software have been accused in court by regulators or vehicle owners of cheating on emissions tests. On Tuesday, the US justice department accused Fiat Chrysler — which also uses Bosch engine software — of rigging its cars to pass emissions tests.
GM spokesperson Pat Morrissey said that…