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Release 98-03

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CONTACT:             Jerry Martin
February 4, 1998                                                                                              Richard Varenchik
                                                                                                                         (916) 322-2990
                                                                                                                         www.arb.ca.gov

ARB and GM Settle on Illegal Vehicle Sales

        SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced that it received a settlement of $80,000 from General Motors Corp. (GM) for selling vehicles that did not meet ARB certification standards for sale in the state.

        ARB Chairman John Dunlap said, "The ARB's strict air quality emission standards for motor vehicles prohibit manufacturers from selling vehicles in California that were built to less stringent federal requirements. Vehicles that do not meet ARB standards pollute more over their lifetimes than those built for California."

        According to ARB information, General Motors was aware that the 19 vehicles, all 1995 Pontiac Grand Ams, were not certified for sale in California when they were delivered for sale with the intention of later bringing them into compliance with ARB emissions standards, a violation of Board regulations. GM is required to report the importation of federally certified vehicles in California to avoid their sale for use in the state. In this case, GM did not report the vehicles slated for use by the Mary Kay Cosmetics fleet.

        In an effort to correct the problem, GM recalled the vehicles but were only able to reconfigure 13 to California specifications. Although the California Health and Safety Code allows for a maximum of $5,000 per vehicle civil penalty in this case, the ARB accepted $80,000 as a reasonable settlement.

        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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