According to a suit filed by the U.S. Justice Department yesterday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles faces charges of selling diesel engines that do not meet the Clean Air Act.
The EPA's release said, "The complaint alleges that FCA equipped nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) sold in the United States with at least eight software-based features that were not disclosed in FCA’s applications for certificates of conformity and that affect the vehicles’ emission control systems." The complaint exposes Fiat to up to $4.6 billion in fines.
"The undisclosed software features lessen the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems during certain normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emission standards in the laboratory and during standard EPA testing, but during certain normal on-road driving emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) that are much higher than the EPA-compliant level."
In a statement released last week, the company said the equipment and programming that had been included on earlier Jeep and Ram EcoDiesel models was designed to prolong engine life, not to outmaneuver the EPA.
Fiat Chrysler filed an application May 19 for emission certification on the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles in hopes the software fix would resolve the federal government's concerns and also open the California market to the 2017 models. The company has not been allowed to sell them in California since January when the EPA announced the emissions violations.
If the new emission certification application is approved, Fiat Chrysler says it will recall and update all 2014 through 2016 EcoDiesel models with the same engine-management software.
Daimler's German offices raided
Tuesday, German prosecutors searched 11 Daimler offices, maker of Mercedes cars, as part of an investigation into whether the company improperly evaded emissions rules. Twenty-three prosecutors, working with 230 state and local police officers, carried out the raids across Germany, including in Baden-Württemberg, where Daimler has its headquarters; in Berlin; and in the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony, the authorities said in a statement. The search was for digital documents regarding alligations of fraud and illegal advertising in connection with the automaker's diesel cars.
Daimler has said that several federal and state authorities in Europe and the United States were investigating the emissions control systems used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.