Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accused of emissions cheating in USA

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The Department for Transport has asked for details of an American investigation into diesel emissions software;

As another car maker is investigated for possible use of an emissions cheat device, we look at the potential implications for British car owners.

What is the issue?

The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) of not telling the authorities about diesel emission software “that could allow excess diesel emissions”, according to the Financial Times.

A report by Reuters states that the EPA believes the software is similar to that fitted to Volkswagen Group diesel engines involved in the Dieselgate scandal.

Which car models are involved?

Vehicles fitted with FCA’s 3.0-litre diesel engine are alleged to be fitted with the software. They include 2014-on examples of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram pick-up.

In America 104,000 of these vehicles have been sold, and there are a further 600,000 of them in Europe. The Dodge Ram isn’t sold officially in the UK or SA, but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says there are 4000 3.0 diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees in the UK and 3800 in SA

The EPA has been investigating FCA’s emissions software for around 18 months. It has stated that the car maker could be liable for fines of around $44,500 (R623 000) per vehicle in the USA, which could create a total compensation payout of $4.6bn (R64.7bn).

What does the car maker say about the allegations?

Following the EPA’s accusation FCA in the USA stated: “FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-litre diesel engine.

“FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’ emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not ‘defeat’ devices

How does it affect you?

We don’t yet know the answer to this, but the Department for Transport has said that it is “urgently seeking further information” from the EPA as well as Fiat Chrysler about vehicles sold in the UK, they haven’t started any inquiry to SA as yet.

What other emissions investigations are happening?

The French authorities are considering whether they should investigate Renault over suspected “cheating” in diesel emissions tests.

This follows on from the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, for which the group’s US division has agreed to pay a settlement of $4.3bn (R60.2Bn) to US regulators.