Fiat-Chrysler in settlement talks over car emissions irregularities
A court-appointed settlement advisor in Washington has confirmed that Fiat-Chrysler has engaged in settlement talks with claimant lawyers over yet another car emissions scandal that has plagued the motor industry these past two years.
The lawyers represent owners of Fiat-Chrysler cars that are reportedly fitted with certain software that can manipulate vehicle emissions and can affect the difference between emissions levels identified in testing and real-world conditions; similar to the ongoing Volkswagen Emissions Scandal.
Although Fiat-Chrysler deny they have done anything intentionally wrong, lawyers have brought claims in the U.S. that are looking likely to settle in favour of the drivers.
The history of the emissions scandals
Back in Autumn 2015, Volkswagen admitted to fitting so-called defeat devices in 11 million of their vehicles worldwide, although they reckon the devices here in the U.K. and Europe are not technically classed as “defeat devices”, but they are in the U.S.
Their bizarre defence is not one we’re prepared to entertain as we continue our huge VW group action against them in the High Court of Justice.
Since the breaking of the scandal, authorities worldwide have been hunting for information about other car makers to find out if there is a deep-rooted and industry-wide problem. Recent reports suggest there is an illegal cartel between manufacturers that eventually gave birth to the idea of using software to manipulate vehicular emissions, and plenty of automotive manufacturers have been caught up in investigations.
Fiat-Chrysler and their so-called (and largely disputed) “defeat device”
After denying wrongdoing and then arguing that it didn’t use the exact same so-called “defeat device” type software Volkswagen used, Fiat-Chrysler were formally sued for allegedly using illegal software that broke emissions laws. Even though they may not use the exact same software as VW, the effect can arguably be the same: allowing vehicles to pass testing while polluting way higher emissions in real-world conditions.
Thousands of customers have reportedly filed lawsuits against the company over the irregularities discovered.
Fiat-Chrysler still deny any wrongdoing and maintain there was never an attempt to create the software with the intention of cheating emissions laws. Regulators disagree and assert that, regardless of intent, Fiat-Chrysler diesel vehicles allegedly contain unauthorised and undisclosed (which is key) software that allows the vehicles to emit more NOx in real-world driving conditions.
Changes to new Fiat-Chrysler vehicles
Earlier in July, Fiat Chrysler managed to obtain approval from regulators to sell their 2017 diesel models after ensuring the new vehicles were compliant with emissions laws. The company is currently still resolving the emissions software for affected 2014-2016 models, but if the updates are anything like the Volkswagen group ones in the U.K., there may be complaints over how any “fixes” affect vehicle performance.
Authorities are continuing investigations into Daimler AG’s luxury Mercedes-Benz diesel models over allegations of emissions software irregularities, but they have yet to take any enforcement action. Meanwhile, Volkswagen continues to pay billions to U.S. authorities, states and victims while totally ignoring the rights of U.K. victims by trying to defend our legal action.
At the end of the day, we are confident in our case and we will not back down.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.