Following up on two-year investigation and sting operation conducted in March 2019, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the NJDEP sued Manheim Remarketing, Inc., the country’s largest vehicle auction company for its role in facilitating the sale of more than 200 vehicles (between December 2016 and March 2019) whose emission control systems had been removed or altered.
The Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Affairs also issued violations to eight used truck dealerships who sold tampered vehicles directly to consumers.
As background, NJ CAR reported on the NJDEP sting operation in March 2019 at Manheim Auctions in Bordentown. The NJDEP was investigating the sale of vehicles—specifically, diesel trucks—with tampered emissions systems, which is a violation of federal and State law. Investigators discovered several such vehicles being auctioned by New Jersey used car dealers through Manheim.
Tampering with emissions systems is strictly prohibited under both federal and New Jersey law. [See N.J.A.C. 7:27-14 and -15; see also 42 U.S.C. 7522(a)(3)]. Tampering includes, but is not limited to, modifying or reprograming an emissions system, or installing replacement parts that do not meet manufacturer specifications. Selling, leasing, or offering to sell or lease vehicles with tampered emissions systems is strictly prohibited, and “sales” include retail, wholesale, auction, and person-to-person transactions. The penalty for violating this law is $30,000 per offense.
Dealers must perform due diligence when acquiring vehicles in trade or at auction to ensure that emissions systems installed on such vehicles have not been tampered with. Likewise, dealers must ensure that they do not sell or auction such vehicles. If dealers inadvertently end up in possession of such vehicles, the emission systems must be restored to manufacturer specifications before being retailed or wholesaled.