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May 14, 2009

Car dealership fined $175,000 for installing unapproved aftermarket part

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board fined Sunrise Ford, a car
dealership with outlets in North Hollywood and Fontana, $175,000
last month for illegally modifying 2005 through 2007 model year
light- and medium-duty vehicles with an aftermarket device before
the vehicles were sold.

The part, called a Fuel Maximizer, is intended to improve gas
mileage and performance in cars by changing the flow of air as it
mixes with the gasoline before combustion. Discovery of the
unapproved parts was made during a routine dealer inspection.

"We expect dealers to follow the law, which requires that
certified aftermarket parts only be installed after a vehicle is
sold," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Our air quality can
suffer when careless mistakes are made, so we hope this fine
sends a strong message."

It is illegal in the state of California to perform
modifications on a new car prior to sale. Modifying car engines
can increase harmful emissions and may lead to the vehicle
failing California's smog test.

Per the terms of the settlement, Sunrise Ford will pay a total
of $175,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund which
supports research and programs intended to reduce California's
carbon footprint.

California's air quality measures are in place to prevent
excessive emissions that can negatively affect public health.
Ozone, also known as urban smog, can cause difficulty breathing,
shortness of breath, coughs, heightened asthma rates,
cardiopulmonary ailments and premature deaths.

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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