Release 09-114
December 21, 2009

    Karen Caesar

ARB settles with the Chrysler Group for $37,000
Company cited for distributing uncertified equipment through its dealers

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board has fined Chrysler Group $37,000 for selling and installing aftermarket catalytic converters that fail to meet California's strict requirements for emission control equipment.

California's aftermarket catalytic converter regulations require that ARB certify all catalytic converters advertised, sold, offered for sale or installed in the state. Chrysler distributed its "Valueline" converters, which are less expensive than the original equipment, without obtaining ARB certification to dealers throughout the state between Jan. 1 and June 1.

"We commend Chrysler for acting swiftly to correct this problem," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "But while the company worked cooperatively with us, we still are obligated to enforce state law and ensure that parts used for emission repairs meet ARB standards. Poor quality parts can raise smog-forming emissions, which can put public health in jeopardy."

Chrysler has already established procedures to minimize future problems. The company removed the remaining uncertified converters from the marketplace and has set up a program to recall and replace all of the converters that were sold and installed on vehicles in the state. In addition, Chrysler agreed to stop advertising, selling and installing aftermarket catalytic converters in California unless they are approved by the ARB.

All penalties will be paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund which supports projects and research to improve the State's air quality.

California's air quality measures are in place to prevent excessive emissions that can negatively affect public health. Excess automobile emissions can lead to smog, which in turn 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.