Release 09-43
May 11, 2009

    Karen Caesar
Car dealership fined $175,000 for installing unapproved aftermarket parts

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board fined Sunrise Ford, a car dealership with outlets in North Hollywood and Fontana, $175,000 last month for illegally modifying 2005 through 2007 model year light- and medium-duty vehicles with an aftermarket device before the vehicles were sold.

The part, called a Fuel Maximizer, is intended to improve gas mileage and performance in cars by changing the flow of air as it mixes with the gasoline before combustion. Discovery of the unapproved parts was made during a routine dealer inspection.

"We expect dealers to follow the law, which requires that certified aftermarket parts only be installed after a vehicle is sold," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Our air quality can suffer when careless mistakes are made, so we hope this fine sends a strong message."

It is illegal in the state of California to perform modifications on a new car prior to sale. Modifying car engines can increase harmful emissions and may lead to the vehicle failing California's smog test.

Per the terms of the settlement, Sunrise Ford will pay a total of $175,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund which supports research and programs intended to reduce California's carbon footprint.

California's air quality measures are in place to prevent excessive emissions that can negatively affect public health. Ozone, also known as urban smog, can cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughs, heightened asthma rates, cardiopulmonary ailments and premature deaths.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.