Another Big Automaker Just Fell Into Its Own 'Dieselgate' Scandal
The Fiat logo is pictured at a car dealership at Motor Village in Los Angeles. The EPA accused Fiat Chrysler on Thursday of using software to manipulate its diesel emissions.
Volkswagen may not be the only automaker manipulating its diesel efficiency ratings.
Environmental Protection Agency officials accused Fiat Chrysler on Thursday of using software that allowed excess diesel emissions in about 104,000 vehicles.
Two unnamed sources told Reuters the alleged emissions cheat affects a number of trucks and SUVs built since 2014.
EPA officials on a call with reporters Thursday said the alleged issue applies to 2014, 2015 and 2016 models of Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram trucks with 3-liter diesel engines.
The agency described the hidden software as an “undisclosed emission control device” and challenged Fiat Chrysler to prove it isn’t a so-called defeat device - that is, one explicitly designed to circumvent emissions standards.
An EPA spokeswoman said the trucks and SUVs are safe to drive.
“If you own one of these vehicles,” she said, “no immediate action is required from you.”
The agency is still investigating the matter, but said the software represents “a clear and serious violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act.”
Fiat Chrysler faces fines of up to $44,000 per vehicle sold in violation of the rules.
In a statement to The Huffington Post, the automaker said it is “disappointed” in the EPA’s decision, and indicated that it intends to fight the charges.
“FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” Fiat Chrysler said.
“FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction,” the statement went on. “Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA’s regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.”
Fiat, an Italian automaker, took a controlling stake in Chrysler in 2011 as the U.S. auto industry was climbing out of the Great Recession.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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