Honda America Reaches Agreement with US Department of Justice over on-board Exhaust Gas Diagnostic System Conforming to OBD-II Regulations

June 9, 1998, U.S.A.


Torrance, California, June 9, 1998 - American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has reached agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) over the conformity of Honda's exhaust system to OBD-II regulations. A written agreement to such effect has now been delivered to the federal courts. OBD-II is a mandatory federal regulation stipulating that an on-board computer must monitor the status of the systems controlling an automobile's exhaust gas system. OBD-II systems are not mechanical devices that control exhaust emissions by themselves.
(OBD-II stands for On-Board Diagnostic Systems Stage II)

The origin of this problem lay in differing legal interpretations of the OBD-II regulations by Honda America lawyers and those of the EPA and the CARB. Honda has been subject to a ruling stating that a number of its models* on sale in the United States did not conform to these regulations. To prevent false positives in the detection of minor misfiring of spark-plugs, the spark plug misfiring-detection system within Honda's vehicles would temporarily cease to function under certain conditions. Federal authorities maintained that there was a fear that Honda's system would fail to detect the accidental misfiring of spark-plugs. Honda recognized that this was the case and began working with the authorities to determine a solution. The agreement reached commits Honda to offering extended warranties to affected customers on the models covered by the original ruling.

The principal terms of the agreement were as follows:

  • Civil penalties to be paid by Honda to the US Federal Government (US$ 10.1 million) and the state of California (US$ 2.5 million).
  • Extension of the warranty periods on affected exhaust gas control systems to 14 years, or 150,000 miles.
  • Honda to conduct a service campaign encouraging owners to have all ignition-related parts replaced.
  • Honda to offer the US Federal Government US$ 1.0 million and the state of California US$ 3.5 million as funds for an environmental survey project.

Following the final judgment of the federal courts, this agreement will be formally issued. It will cover a total of 17.4 million vehicles. Honda plans to send out notices to consumers and conduct the service campaign this autumn.

Ever since releasing the Civic CVCC engine back in 1975 with the world's first catalyst-free exhaust gas processing system to conform to the US Federal Clean Air Act, Honda has striven hard to reduce the exhaust emissions of its vehicles, developing a wide range of environmental technologies in the process. Today, Honda sells in the United States a number of vehicles conforming to low exhaust emission standards:

  • Civic and Accord LEVs (Low Emission Vehicle), in all 50 states.
  • Accord ULEVs (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle), in California.
  • The Civic GX natural gas-powered car, acknowledged by the CARB as "the cleanest car in history."
  • *Models affected by the original ruling:
1995 models: Honda Accord V6, Acura NSX, Acura 2.5TL
1996 models: All models
1997 models: All models (except for the Honda Passport, Acura Integra Type-R, Acura SLX)
This is a summary of the statement made by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.