Fiat Chrysler diesel emissions fix may avert Justice Department showdown

Fiat Chrysler diesel emissions fix may avert Justice Department showdown

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a file photo

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Friday that it would implement a minor software fix to resolve a discrepancy on the emissions performance of certain diesel vehicles, in a move that couldavert a legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

The automaker said it had asked permission to make the upgradesafter "many months of close collaboration" with the EPA and California Air Resources Board.

The company said it believes the move "should help facilitate a prompt resolution" to its legal showdown with the Justice Department, which had reportedly threatened to sue over diesel vehicles that were supposedly emitting pollutants at higher rates than are legally acceptable.

The matter erupted in the final days of the Obama administration, which publicly accused Fiat Chrysler of violating emissions laws on more than 100,000 diesel vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne aggressively rejected suggestions that his engineers had intentionally evaded U.S. standards, calling the accusations "absolute nonsense" and saying that anyone who disagreed with him was "smoking illegal material."

The allegations had theoretically put Fiat Chrysler at risk of billions of dollars in government fines, although industry analysts believed any prospective violations were not nearly as serious as those at German automaker Volkswagen, which has apologized for intentionally rigging diesel vehicles with software to cheat standards.

Spokespeople for the EPA and Justice Department declined to comment Friday.

Fiat Chrysler shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose 3.8% to $10.86 at 10:30 a.m.

"We're trying to do an honest job here. We're not trying to break the bloody law," Marchionne told reporters in January.

Still, the Department of Justice was reportedly set to file a lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler if they could not resolve their dispute over the technical issues in certain Jeep Grand Cherokeeand light-duty Ram 1500 pickup trucks with 3-liter diesel engines.

A Fiat Chryslerspokesman declined to further discuss the ramifications of the emissions fix on the Justice Department case.

The company said in a statement that it had updated 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles with improved software "to clarify issues related to the company's emissions control technology." The automaker will install the same fix on 2014 through 2016 models "with the permission of EPA and CARB," Fiat Chrysler said.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
South Africa: Jacob Zuma 'plans second home in Dubai'

South Africa: Jacob Zuma 'plans second home in Dubai'..

28-May, 06:43

South Africa's embattled president Jacob Zuma has been planning to set up...

'I can't pay the rent'

'I can't pay the rent'..

27-May, 20:50

"Every year the estate agent tries to put up the rent by ?50 a month....

Peter Andre wishes ex-wife Katie Prices eldest son Harvey a happy birthday as Loose Women panelist tells him: 'You make me so proud'

Peter Andre wishes ex-wife Katie Prices eldest son Harvey a happy birthday as Loose Women..

27-May, 16:27

As Harvey celebrated his fifteenth birthday with his family, Peter was...

Jesy Nelson sends fans WILD as she shows off new blonde hair  ahead of Little Mix's Radio 1's Big Weekend performance

Jesy Nelson sends fans WILD as she shows off new blonde hair ahead of Little Mix's Radio 1's..

28-May, 07:25

And the Little Mix star's latest upload is no different as she unveiled...

Uber to investigate sexual harassment claim by engineer

Uber to investigate sexual harassment claim by engineer..

20-Feb, 06:33

Uber's chief executive has ordered an urgent investigation into a sexual...

Carlos the Jackal regrets not killing 'people I should have'

Carlos the Jackal regrets not killing 'people I should have'..

14-Mar, 02:58

Once the world's most-wanted fugitive, the man known as "Carlos the...

Vatican celebrates big bang to dispel faith-science conflict

Vatican celebrates big bang to dispel faith-science conflict..

09-May, 00:28

The Vatican is celebrating the big-bang theory. That's not as out of this...

Hollywood reacts to Powers Boothe's death

Hollywood reacts to Powers Boothe's death..

15-May, 10:16

Veteran actor Powers Boothe died in his sleep at the age of 68 on Sunday...