United States sues Fiat Chrysler for diesel emissions cheating

Ram-EcoDiesel

In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said 104,000 light-duty diesel vehicles with 3.0 liter "EcoDiesel" engines utilize software - called a "defeat device" - that limits nitrogen oxide pollution from those cars when they undergo testing.

The control devices, which are legal but must be disclosed and their goal explained, are said to emit higher levels of nitrogen oxides during real-world driving conditions than during US emission tests.

The U.S. government has filed a civil lawsuit against automaker Fiat Chrysler, saying the company has used illegal software to fake emission results on its diesel vehicles.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil complaint against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV over the automaker's alleged violations of U.S. clean-air rules with its diesel vehicles.

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Earlier this year, German automaker Volkswagen AG agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil fines stemming from the company's scheme to sell diesel vehicles containing software created to cheat on USA emissions tests. Defeat devices are created to mislead regulators over the true emissions' output of an engine when vehicles are tested in lab conditions. "The dispute that is going on now between the EPA and the FCA is whether the calibration that was filed (during testing to certify emission requirements) was a calibration that met all regulations".

The suit, filed in a U.S. District courthouse in Detroit, Michigan, arrives despite FCA making last-minute efforts to update its emissions software calibrations on the 104,000 apparently affected vehicles, in a bid to appease government regulators. The complaint exposes Fiat to up to $4.6 billion in fines.

FCA said last week it would update the software in the vehicles in question, hoping it would alleviate the regulators' concern, but analysts said it may have been too little too late. Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director said, "Fiat Chrysler joins the long list of automakers who have put our clean air and health of our families in the backseat by cheating on emissions tests".

Almost 104,000 diesel cars-all Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 2014, 2015, and 2016-were sold with "defeat-device" software, the EPA said.

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The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the parent company of Jeep and Ram, if they can not reach an agreement over the automaker's alleged violations of U.S. There are defeat devices that are created to defeat the test cycle. The German automaker has committed to spending upwards of $24.5 billion in North America to settle legal claims, including both civil and criminal cases brought previous year by the USA government, and buy back or fix some 560,000 vehicles.

The Italian-American carmaker said he was "disappointed" and said he was investigating the complaint.

After what happened with Volkswagon, automakers around the world are now facing diesel scrutiny.

The EPA has said its in negotiations with FCA and working towards reaching a settlement, stating: "the nature and timing of any resolution of this issue are uncertain". The company said its agriculture unit "has made an informal approach to Bunge Limited regarding a possible consensual business combination".

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