• 08.18.16

Harley-Davidson has a VW problem, accused by feds of using “defeat devices” to evade emissions rules

This story has been updated with a response from Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson stock is tumbling on Thursday morning in the wake of the U.S. government’s lawsuit alleging the legendary motorcycle company violated the Clean Air Act by selling more than 12,000 Hogs with “defeat devices” used to evade federal emissions requirements. Until now only car companies, most prominently Volkswagen, have been accused of using such devices and faced billion-dollar fines.

UPDATE: Harley-Davidson insists that the Pro Super Tuner, which the EPA alleges was used to enable customers and dealers to evade the emissions requirements, was not part of the motorcycle’s original equipment and was not used in certification testing. In a statement, the company told Fast Company: 

The EPA alleged that by selling its Pro Super Tuner through its U.S. dealer network, Harley-Davidson enabled dealers and customers to tamper with motorcycles used on public roads. Harley-Davidson disagrees with the EPA’s position, noting that the tuner was designed and sold as an after-market, competition-only product used to adapt engine parameters for use with Harley-Davidson after-market equipment.

This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition. For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S.