Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal may have garnered the most headlines, but it’s not the only automaker that’s gotten into trouble with its diesel engines. In a statement, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it has reached final settlements with federal and state agencies, as well as private class action suits, over its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, which regulators allege was designed to cheat emissions tests. Although the company maintains that it did not deliberately install defeat devices in its vehicles, it has agreed to pay nearly $800 million in total to settle civil, environmental, and consumer claims.
According to Automotive News, the settlement reportedly includes a total of $311 million in fines, as much as $280 million to settle owner claims, and about $100 million worth of extended warranties. FCA will also pay more than $70 million in state penalties, in addition to the $20 million it will pay to the State of California. FCA didn’t admit to any wrongdoing as part of the agreement. Parts supplier Bosch, which provided some of the components, has agreed to pay $27.5 million. FCA says affected customers can expect to receive about $2,800 in compensation.
“Fiat Chrysler deceived consumers and the federal government by installing [software] on these vehicles that undermined important clean air protections,” said Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “Today’s settlement sends a clear and strong signal to manufacturers and consumers alike—the Trump administration will vigorously enforce the nation’s laws designed to protect the environment and public health.”
In a statement, FCA said that these settlements “do not change the Company’s position that it did not engage in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat emissions tests. Further, the consent decree and settlement agreements contain no finding or admission with regard to any alleged violations of vehicle emissions rules.”
While Volkswagen’s emissions scandal broke back in 2015, it wasn’t until 2017 that the U.S. Justice Department first accused FCA of using similarly illegal software that allowed its diesel vehicles to exceed emissions limits. More than 100,000 vehicles from 2014 to 2016 were affected.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required), FCA
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