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USA sues Fiat Chrysler for cheating on emissions tests

25 May 2017

The company said that the Justice Department's decision was disappointing, adding that it will put forth a pitched battle to defend itself against claims that "it engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat US emissions tests".

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' proposed fix for Ram and Jeep vehicles equipped with the company's 3.0-liter diesel V-6 is not enough to satisfy the U.S. Department of Justice as the department has just filed a civil complaint against FCA in regards to the diesel engines, which have been fitted to more than 100,000 vehicles.

The complaint filed Tuesday alleges that almost 104,000 vehicles with 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engines were equipped with software "defeat devices" that caused the vehicles' emission control systems to perform differently, and less effectively, during certain normal driving conditions than on laboratory emissions tests, according to a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fiat Chrysler has issued a statement in response to the Department of Justice's intention to file a lawsuit against the automaker for diesel emissions violations. The company admitted cheating diesel emissions tests with 580,000 US vehicles.

The complaint, by the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division, says the devices, which tell the vehicle to operate at legal levels only during emissions testing, violate the federal Clean Air Act. Authorities will have to prove that FCA's software constitutes a so-called "defeat device" and that it was fitted in the vehicles purposefully to bypass emission controls.

Fiat Chrysler, and more specifically FCA US, its US subsidiary, incurs civil penalties of up to $ 4.6 billion. "Fiat Chrysler joins the long list of automakers who have put our clean air and health of our families in the back seat by cheating on emissions tests", he said in the statement. Barclays PLC upgraded Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV from an "underweight" rating to an "equal weight" rating and increased their target price for the company from $5.60 to $10.00 in a research note on Friday, February 3rd. The EPA had said in January that the maximum fine is about $4.6 billion.

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The Italian American firm said it "believes this will address the agencies' concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles".

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.

The Justice Department seeks to prevent the sale of any other non-conforming vehicles, and assess a $37,500 fine on each vehicle produced and sold from 2009 to 2015 and $45,268 for each auto sold after November 2015. The company has applied for certification to sell 2017 diesel models from US and California Regulators.

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

At the time, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne denied any wrongdoing and said the agency was blowing the issue out of proportion.

USA sues Fiat Chrysler for cheating on emissions tests