Economy

Fiat Chrysler seeks diesel emission certification from EPA

Fiat Chrysler seeks diesel emission certification from EPA

Fiat Chrysler, keen to put to rest any allegations of diesel-emissions cheating, will be updating diesel vehicles old and new.

These vehicles have received updated emissions software calibration which FCA believes will make both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) happy.

The engine is found in 2014-2017 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler said it believed the updates would help it reach settlements with the EPA and the Justice Department. But FCA says any litigation would be "counterproductive" to its talks with the EPA.

FCA said January 12 that its emissions controls are "properly justified" and thus not defeat devices, adding that it had "proposed a number of actions to address EPA's concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance".

FCA shares fell 1 percent to $10.44 in midday trading. The company said it will also seek permission to modify the 2014-2016 versions of the diesels that are in dispute to end the standoff with federal regulators. The company agreed to pay $4.3 billion in a criminal settlement and more than $17 billion in civil settlements after US regulators uncovered so-called defeat devices, which change how a vehicle performs during or outside of testing, on VW diesels in 2015.

FCA believes the software update for 2014-2016 vehicles won't affect fuel economy or performance, just emissions. Gas variants of both vehicles are already on sale in the US.

An EPA spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the agency's policy to avoid discussing the certification status of vehicles not yet approved for sale. Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz this month halted efforts to get approval for 2017 diesel versions of models including the C-Class sedan and GLE SUV, citing an arduous certification process that wasn't justified given demand for the vehicles. On Wednesday, the European Union's executive arm filed a formal complaint against the Italian government for allowing Fiat Chrysler to sell cars created to evade emissions tests. Regulators have said that in normal driving they emitted up to 40 times more smog-causing nitrogen oxide than the legal limit.

The emission-cheating scheme has cost Volkswagen more than $20 billion in fines and settlements, in addition to goodwill among some US drivers. While the situation is similar to the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, FCA is unlikely to have to pay as much as that company, though it faces significant damage to its reputation, writes The New York times.


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