Companies imported, sold vehicles in violation of Clean Air Act, feds say

Publish Date: 
Jan 7, 2014
By Holly J. Wagner

DALLAS, Texas - Federal authorities have charged a group of Dallas-based companies and their owner with importing more than 24,000 vehicles from several foreign manufacturers without proper documentation.  

According to a consent decree filed this week, the companies and their owner must stop importing the vehicles or follow a comprehensive compliance plan to settle Clean Air Act (CAA) violations stemming from the alleged illegal import of more than 24,167 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles without proper documentation, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Jan. 6. The owner also must pay a $120,000 civil penalty, the agencies said. 

Federal authorities allege that 

Savoia, BMX Imports and BMX Trading, and their owner, Terry Zimmer, imported vehicles through the Port of Long Beach in California, then sold them online and from a retail site in Dallas.



Authorities say the vehicles were sold under the brand names of Peace, Lifan, Buyang, Bashan, Huansong, Wangli, JCL and Xinyang.

The settlement requires that the companies either certify that they are no longer engaging in CAA-regulated activities or follow a comprehensive plan over the next five years that would include regular vehicle inspections, emissions testing and other measures to ensure compliance at various stages of purchasing, importing and selling vehicles.  

In addition, the companies are required to export or destroy 115 of their current vehicles that have catalytic converters or carburetors which do not adhere to the certificate of conformity that they submitted to EPA. The purpose of the certificate of conformity is to demonstrate that vehicles or engines meet applicable federal emission standards.



EPA said it discovered the alleged violations through inspections at Long Beach and other U.S. ports of entry, and through information provided by the companies. EPA’s investigation showed that about 11,000 of the imported vehicles were not covered by an EPA certificate of conformity, which means that EPA is unable to confirm that the emissions from these vehicles meet federal standards. 

Other violations concern the sale of about 23,000 vehicles without the required emissions warranty and about 500 vehicles that did not have proper emission control labels.
The CAA requires that all vehicles have certification, warranty and labeling before being imported or sold in the U.S.

“Importers of foreign-made vehicles and engines must comply with the same Clean Air Act requirements that apply to those selling domestic products,” said Robert G. Dreher, acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue to vigorously enforce the law to ensure that imported vehicles and engines comply with U.S. laws so that American consumers get environmentally sound products and violators do not gain an unfair economic advantage.”



The consent decree, lodged Jan. 6 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. It is available for review at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.



More information on the settlement is available at  www2.epa.gov/enforcement/savoia-inc-bmx-imports-lp-bmx-trading-llc-and-terry-zimmer-clean-air-act-settlement.