Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was accused of violating emission norms on Thursday, akin to that used by Volkswagen in the Dieselgate scandal put to light by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has slapped a fine of over $4.6 billion onto FCA which has not only plummeted the shares of FCA but affected more than 1 lakh U.S. trucks and SUVs sold since 2014, which is about one-sixth the vehicles in the Volkswagen case. The vehicles include Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee which were fitted with Fiat’s implicated 3-litre diesel engines.
EPA told FCA that it believes that at least eight undisclosed pieces of software that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution were found and Fiat Chrysler had recalled vehicles for one of the undisclosed software patches. The undisclosed software patch allows for higher nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.
On Thursday, Fiat Chrysler said that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the case. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement that he is “deeply troubled” by the EPA findings and “will investigate the claims against Fiat Chrysler and stands ready to work with our state and federal partners.” FCA has no plans to stop selling 2016 U.S. diesel models. He added that the company was planning to update the software to address EPA concerns.
While FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne rejected the allegations at a quick-conference call assembled with reporters, he further added that “there was no wrongdoing and the company never attempted to create software to cheat emissions rules by detecting when the vehicle was in test mode.”
Marchionne added FCA and VW can’t be compared because there was no intent by Fiat Chrysler to deceive the EPA or cheat on emissions tests.
EPA has been reviewing other automakers’ emissions systems after the VW scandal. The American carmaker is also looking forward to meet the EPA’s enforcement division representatives of the new administration to prove that FCA (US) emission control systems are justifiable and do not incorporate any ‘defeat devices’.