Fiat Chrysler to discuss settlement for alleged emissions cheating
Fiat Chrysler pulled into the emissions scandals…
Fiat Chrysler has said it will discuss the possibility of paying a settlement to those affected by potential emissions cheating involving Fiat Chrysler vehicles. After Volkswagen (VW) were found to have cheated to allow millions of their vehicles to pass stringent emissions testing, authorities have looked into other car makers to see if illegal practices are more widespread across the industry.
Whilst Fiat Chrysler reportedly does not use a so-called “defeat device” in the way VW were found to have been doing, their vehicles have been found to contain software that can alter the way emissions are regulated in the real world when compared to when the vehicles are being tested.
Regardless of whether or not a ‘true’ “defeat device” was used, Fiat Chrysler may still be breaking clean air legislation around the world. Specially programmed software has allowed vehicles to pass official testing regimes but allow far more NOx to be emitted in real world driving conditions.
The car maker is currently discussing a settlement with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. Around 104,000 of their 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram pickup trucks are thought to have been affected by the scandal.
The negotiations were likely to have been prompted after an academic study found that one tested Fiat Chrysler 500X compact SUV did indeed have a so-called “defeat device” that was reportedly similar to those found in VW vehicles. The software programmed into the vehicles could reduce the amount of emissions when the car was turned on and would stay reduced for 26 minutes. The standard official emissions testing lasts for just under 26 minutes.
It’s either a major coincidence, or something underhanded is going on…
Potentially huge settlement
As one of the world’s biggest car makers, Fiat Chrysler can expect a potentially large bill, but the sum may pale in comparison to the billions and billions of dollars VW has already paid out. Only recently VW agreed to pay a further $1.22 billion to fix or buy back their 3.0 litre affected vehicles. At the same time, Bosch agreed a substantial settlement sum for their involvement in reportedly designing the software used for the so-called “defeat devices”, although they continue to deny liability.
Fiat Chrysler are taking the same approach: negotiating a settlement sum to keep authorities happy whilst denying liability. On the one hand, Fiat Chrysler is saying they will defend themselves “against any claims that the company deliberately installed defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests”, whilst on the other, they’re engaged in talks to pay customers over allegations of emissions cheating.
Civil lawsuits to come…
There are reports that the Justice Department will also be filing a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, but the car maker is confident the lawsuit is unnecessary as software ‘fixes’ will apparently resolve the emissions problem in their view. However, these ‘fixes’ may be a cause for concern, as some of the software updates carried out on VW vehicles in the U.K. appear to have caused all sorts of performance issues. As such, Fiat Chrysler could face similar problems…
Daimler also potentially involved
Daimler, owner of luxury car brand Mercedes Benz, many well be full of nervous board members as they were recently probed by authorities over suspicions of emissions results as well. A spokesperson said they do not have “defeat devices” as such, but if Fiat Chrysler are found guilty for their emissions controlling, Daimler may also have cause for concern.
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