Release 07-34
August 22, 2007

    Leo Kay
(916) 322-2990 
Karen Caesar (626) 575-6728

Air Resources Board Announces $700,000 settlement with
Saleen, Inc., for sale of uncertified cars

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board recently reached a $700,000 settlement with auto manufacturer Saleen, Inc., of Irvine, Calif., for selling vehicles not certified to California regulations, which can affect tailpipe emissions and negatively impact air quality.

"We hope that this case will serve as a deterrent to others who may be planning to profit by selling uncertified vehicles," said Lynn Terry, ARB acting executive officer. "California vehicles are designed to be the cleanest in the nation. Tampering with emission control systems to enhance speed and performance can increase smog-forming emissions, which is especially harmful in areas such as Southern California where smog continues to exceed state and federal air quality standards."

During 2004 and 2005, Saleen acquired new motor vehicles (defined as having an odometer reading of 7,500 miles or less), modified and later sold them for use or registration in California, despite the fact that due to those modifications, they were no longer certified.

During its investigation, Air Resources Board staff found three Ford vehicle models modified by Saleen without ARB certification. The vehicles in violation are the 2004 and 2005 N2O, based on the Ford Focus, which was modified to be able to use nitrous oxide to boost performance; the 2004 and 2005 S121, also based on the Ford Focus; and the 2005 S281, based on the Ford Mustang. More than 100 vehicles were affected.

Under the terms of the settlement, to sell or use the N2O models in California, Saleen is required to recall and reconfigure them to a certified condition; that recall is currently underway. The other models were ultimately certified for use in California.

To protect yourself, the Air Resources Board suggests that vehicle purchasers verify the legality of any vehicle modifications, especially those that claim to improve performance or fuel economy. To assist consumers, the ARB maintains a webpage dedicated to aftermarket parts and modification information. There is also a toll-free assistance line at 800 242-4450.

All monies are being paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. This fund uses compliance settlement fees to support various pollution-related research projects and related programs. The Legislature controls the use of the Air Pollution Control Fund through the annual Budget Act.

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.