Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Fiat Chrysler pays $800m to settle emissions cheating claim

The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Eco Diesel Ram 1500 for 2014-2016 were designed to defeat emissions tests resulting in much higher levels of pollution spewed into the air than allowed by US law News Fiat Chrysler to pay around $650M in emissions cheating case By MICHAEL BALSAMO and
Priscilla Morrison | 11 January, 2019, 15:41

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will pay out roughly US$800 million ($1.1 billion) in fines, fixes and compensation to settle claims some of its diesel engines cheated their way past emissions regulations.

The Justice Department said Fiat Chrysler must work with one or more vendors of aftermarket catalytic converters to improve the efficiency of 200,000 converters that will be sold in the 47 USA states that do not already require the use of the California-mandated high-efficiency gasoline vehicle catalysts.

As part of the settlement, Fiat Chrysler did not admit any wrongdoing. Authorities say the vehicles were equipped with diesel engines programmed to run pollution controls during lab tests that would turn off under certain conditions on the road. First, FCA will recall approximately 100,000 examples of the 2014-2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Current and former owners and lessees are also eligible to receive a payment averaging $2,800. Fiat Chrysler will pay about $400 million in civil fines to different federal and state agencies.

"Fiat Chrysler broke those laws and this case demonstrates that steep penalties await corporations that engage in such egregious violations", Principal US Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio said in a statement. He said not only did Fiat Chrysler break the law but that it worked to hide its conduct. The company will also pay a $305 (£239 / €265) million civil penalty and "implement a program to mitigate excess pollution from these vehicles". FCA is one several manufacturers to use similar Bosch software that Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it co-developed to cheat federal emissions tests. About 500,000 VW vehicles were involved in the USA cheating scandal.

Fiat Chrysler says the violations of emissions standards by 100,000 vehicles was unintentional

Representatives for Fiat Chrysler and the Justice Department declined to comment.

The Justice Department and company are also said to be nearing a settlement to resolve a two-year criminal investigation into whether it knowingly sold diesel vehicles that violated clean-air rules, according to two other people familiar with the matter.

"Today's settlement sends a clear and strong signal to manufacturers and consumers that the Trump administration will vigorously enforce the nation's laws created to protect the environment and public health", said Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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