GM faces class action lawsuit over emissions cheating on Chevy and GMC diesel trucks

by Charles Miller

A class action lawsuit against General Motors accused the company of emissions cheating on its heavy-duty diesel pickup trucks. The lawsuit alleges that GM installed a “defeat device” on certain GMC and Chevrolet truck models in order to conceal the high emissions levels of these vehicles from regulators and consumers.

This emissions software was installed on 2011-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD Duramax diesel pickup trucks and GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD Duramax diesel pickup trucks. The lawsuit alleges that this software was programmed to make the vehicles appear to emit lower levels of emissions during testing. The software was installed on about 705,000 Chevy and GMC pickup trucks that were sold in the U.S.

The emissions cheating software that was allegedly installed on the affected models was intended to adjust the emissions levels of these vehicles when they are operated under certain temperature conditions. When the trucks are driven at temperatures between 68-86 degrees – the temperatures under which emissions testing is conducted – the vehicles release exhaust emissions that are within federal pollution guidelines. However, when the trucks are operated at temperatures outside this range, the trucks can emit pollution levels that are four to five times greater than what is allowed under environmental laws.

The lawsuit alleges that GM deliberately designed emissions software that was installed on the affected trucks in order to allow these vehicles to pass emissions tests. By scaling back the circumstances in which these emissions controls would operate under real world conditions, GM was able to produce trucks that could pass emissions tests while delivering performance and fuel-economy that would be impossible if these vehicles were in compliance with federal law.

According to the lawsuit, GM misrepresented the performance and fuel efficiency of the affected Chevy and GMC trucks to consumers. The Sierra and Silverado models that were equipped with the defeat device were only able to achieve the powerful torque and towing capacity advertised by GM through an emissions system that released pollution into the atmosphere which far exceeds federal environmental lawsuit and fuel efficiency standards. By misrepresenting the eco-friendliness of these vehicles, consumers paid about $5,000 more for environmental benefits in their trucks which the vehicles failed to deliver.

The class action lawsuit also alleges that auto parts manufacturer Bosch played an integral role in the alleged emissions cheating on GMC and Chevy trucks. The lawsuit states that Bosch was “an active and knowing participant in the scheme” by supplying the electronic controls that allowed GM to install the defeat devices on its vehicles.

The allegations of against GM in the class action lawsuit are the latest charges of emissions cheating against a major automaker. In July 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement for installing an emissions defeat device on VW and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models. Audi is also facing lawsuits over allegations of CO2 emissions cheating on its gasoline-powered models.

Chevy and GMC Truck Owners May Qualify to File a Lawsuit

Consumers who purchased or leased a 2011-2016 Chevy Silverado 2500 or 3500 HD Duramax diesel truck or a 2011-2016 GMC Sierra 2500 or 3500 HD Duramax diesel truck may be able to take legal action against GM for their alleged emissions cheating. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps of filing a case.

For more information about the emissions cheating lawsuits filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson and to find out whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, contact our office by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.