Release 03-31      

December 9, 2003


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
Auto Manufacturers Pay $110,000 in Settlements

SACRAMENTO -- The Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that it has settled two cases against DaimlerChrysler Corporation (Chrysler) and one against Aston Martin Lagonda of North America, Inc. (Aston Martin) for violating California clean air laws.

"It is important that ARB enforce clean air laws as they are California's first line of defense in the battle against air pollution," said ARB Executive Officer Catherine Witherspoon. "Every lapse can harm the health and welfare of Californians."

ARB regulations stipulate that all new cars offered for sale and sold in California be certified to meet state standards. Chrysler admitted to selling 24 uncertified cars of various models and paid $104,000 in penalties, but said it was due in part to an error in their vehicle order guide and electronic vehicle order system. Chrysler has addressed the problems by correcting the ordering process, reconfiguring one of the vehicles to meet state standards, extending the warranty on eight of the vehicles to a 7 year/70,000 mile schedule, and removing the rest from the state altogether. These actions and payments settle two cases. The first was executed on June 30, 2003. The second was executed October 28, 2003.

Clean air regulations also stipulate that vehicles be clearly and accurately labeled to display their compliance parameters. Aston Martin has paid $6,550 for improperly labeling 131 vehicles and bringing them to California to be sold. Strict adherence to certification requirements and labeling protocols is essential because automotive service personnel depend on these labels when performing routine services or testing for the California Smog Check Program. As part of the settlement Aston Martin has initiated a program to retrieve and re-label as many of the affected vehicles as possible. For all the vehicles that are not retrieved through this service action campaign, Aston Martin will initiate a recall.

The settlement monies will be deposited in the state's Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF). The APCF is used to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology.

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.

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