Ford confessed in February to having taken a flawed approach to using road-load specifications to simulate how aerodynamic drag and tire friction can affect the fuel economy of its vehicles outside testing labs. (Photo: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg) Ford confessed in February to having taken a flawed approach to using road-load specifications to simulate how aerodynamic drag and tire friction can affect the fuel economy of its vehicles outside testing labs. (Photo: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into Ford Motor Co.’s emissions certification process, intensifying an issue the automaker disclosed two months ago.

Ford is fully cooperating with all government agencies, the automaker said Friday in a regulatory filing that disclosed the probe for the first time. The Justice Department notified the company of its investigation earlier this month, Kim Pittel, group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in a statement.

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‘A flawed approach’

Ford confessed in February to having taken a flawed approach to using road-load specifications to simulate how aerodynamic drag and tire friction can affect the fuel economy of its vehicles outside testing labs. It hired an outside firm earlier this year to help conduct an investigation that could stretch into the summer.

The probe makes Ford at least the third major automaker to fall under U.S. federal investigation over emissions in the span of a few years. Volkswagen AG paid a $4.3 billion penalty in 2017 for misleading regulators and customers about its diesel engines’ emissions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which last month recalled almost 863,000 vehicles that violate pollution standards, faces an ongoing criminal probe, Bloomberg News has reported.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

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