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Fiat News: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Gets Served By the Justice Department

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself in hot water once again. Today, the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the company in Federal Court for using a “defeat device” on 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 from the 2014 to 2016 model years. This follows news from last week that FCA applied for certification the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as they feature new emission software.

"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 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," the Justice Department wrote in a statement today.

As we reported last Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department was preparing a suit against FCA if an agreement couldn't be reached with the EPA. The two parties have been in discussions since the EPA first alleged the cheating back in January.

"FCA US is currently reviewing the complaint, but is disappointed that the DOJ-ENRD has chosen to file this lawsuit. The Company intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests," FCA said in a statement.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, U.S. Justice Department
Press Release is on Page 2


United States Files Complaint Against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), today filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, against FCA US LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., V.M. Motori S.p.A., and V.M. North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as FCA).  The complaint alleges that nearly 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles containing 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engines are equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices.  The complaint alleges that the undisclosed software functions cause the vehicles’ emission control systems to perform differently, and less effectively, during certain normal driving conditions than on federal emission tests, resulting in increased emissions of harmful air pollutants.

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to obtain a certificate of conformity before introducing a vehicle into commerce, by demonstrating to EPA that the vehicle will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution.  Manufacturers must disclose in their certification applications all auxiliary emission control devices (e.g. computer software that affects the performance of emission controls based upon operating parameters of the vehicle), justify the presence of any such devices, and explain why those that reduce the effectiveness of emission controls are not “defeat devices.”  Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices cannot be certified.

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 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.  The complaint alleges that each of these vehicles differs materially from the specifications provided to EPA in the certification applications, and thus the cars are uncertified, in violation of the Clean Air Act.  These allegations are consistent with those set forth in notice of violation (“NOV”) that EPA issued to FCA US LLC and FCA NV on Jan. 12, 2017.

Following the issuance of the NOV, EPA continued its investigation into the operation of the undisclosed software-based features.  Based upon this investigation, the complaint alleges that one or more of these undisclosed software features, alone or in combination with the others, renders inoperative, bypasses and/or defeats the vehicles’ emission control systems, which were installed to make the vehicles comply with Clean Air Act emission standards.  In short, the complaint now alleges that the vehicles contain defeat devices.

NOx pollution contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors (including outdoor workers), and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. Nitrogen dioxide formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children.

The civil complaint filed today seeks injunctive relief and the assessment of civil penalties.   The United States also filed a notice that it will request to transfer its case and fully participate in the pretrial proceedings now initiated in the related multi-district litigation in the Northern District of California. 

EPA and the California Air Resources Board are continuing in their discussions with FCA to bring the subject vehicles into compliance with the Clean Air Act and California law.  The nature and timing of any resolution of this issue are uncertain.

Response: Filing by DOJ-ENRD
May 23, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US today issued the following statement in response to a civil lawsuit filed against the company by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ-ENRD”):

FCA US has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for many months, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology in model-year (MY) 2014-2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles.
 
FCA US is currently reviewing the complaint, but is disappointed that the DOJ-ENRD has chosen to file this lawsuit. The Company intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests.
 
As FCA US announced last week, it has developed updated emissions software calibrations that it believes address the concerns of EPA and CARB, and has now formally filed for diesel vehicle emissions certification with the regulators for its 2017 model year (MY) Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. Subject to the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles.

FCA expects that the installation of these updated software calibrations will improve the 2014-2016 MY vehicles’ emissions performance and does not anticipate any impact on performance or fuel efficiency.

Notwithstanding this lawsuit, the Company remains committed to working cooperatively with EPA and CARB to resolve the agencies’ concerns quickly and amicably.


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LOL HOW MANY HELLCATS ARE THEY GONNA HAVE TO SELL TO PAY THIS ONE

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Especially ridiculous given the "Eco" label of their diesel.  

 

 

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Do the Hellcats meet emissions?

I have to imagine they are paying CAFE fines every year too, whatever budget they had to come up with new product will probably just go to this lawsuit.  They can probably stretch the current 300/Charger out to 2027 though.  

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FCA's development budget went to all the coke and quaaludes they consumed to make them think 'hellcat everything' was a viable business model.

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While this is a serious problem, that leads me to this question.

Why can't FCA build and sell fuel-efficient vehicles that people will actually buy?  I still see quite a few compacts and fewer subcompacts on the roads down here, but most of them are Civics, Corollas, Sentras, a few Yarises and Fits, with several Cruzes on the road too.  Very few Fiat 500s around here.  Every time I see an FCA vehicle, it is a 300/Charger, a RAM pickup truck, or a minivan.  Yes, gas prices here are around $2.25 for regular, but still nobody wants a small FCA vehicle while the competition is doing a lot better.  Sergio et. al. are really screwing the pooch here.

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This just seems so unreal...

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1 hour ago, FAPTurbo said:

FCA's development budget went to all the coke and quaaludes they consumed to make them think 'hellcat everything' was a viable business model.

Nope, not hellcat, the POS auto line called Alfa and Fiat. Idiot Sergio took all the profits and blew it as usual on useless attempt to make the world think that italy can build autos.

14 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

While this is a serious problem, that leads me to this question.

Why can't FCA build and sell fuel-efficient vehicles that people will actually buy?  I still see quite a few compacts and fewer subcompacts on the roads down here, but most of them are Civics, Corollas, Sentras, a few Yarises and Fits, with several Cruzes on the road too.  Very few Fiat 500s around here.  Every time I see an FCA vehicle, it is a 300/Charger, a RAM pickup truck, or a minivan.  Yes, gas prices here are around $2.25 for regular, but still nobody wants a small FCA vehicle while the competition is doing a lot better.  Sergio et. al. are really screwing the pooch here.

Fiat and Alfa sit on the lots here by the thousands. No one wants their junk. Sergio failed to reinvest properly in what would sell and instead flushed it down the Italian craper on Dead Alfa and Fix It Again Tito cars.

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14 hours ago, FAPTurbo said:

FCA's development budget went to all the coke and quaaludes they consumed to make them think 'hellcat everything' was a viable business model.

It seems to be working as they sell everyone they can make......

13 hours ago, dfelt said:

Nope, not hellcat, the POS auto line called Alfa and Fiat. Idiot Sergio took all the profits and blew it as usual on useless attempt to make the world think that italy can build autos.

Fiat and Alfa sit on the lots here by the thousands. No one wants their junk. Sergio failed to reinvest properly in what would sell and instead flushed it down the Italian craper on Dead Alfa and Fix It Again Tito cars.

There probably aren't even Alfas in the thousands in the country yet.........  The Fiat 124 sells very well for what it is, and the rest, well, it was obvious, though the 500 does sell similaqr numbers as it's competitors such as the Mini. 


Anyway, this was not deliberately so the government overstretching it's authority again is insane, though not surprising.  And lets not forget how others have had t pay fines, not only for emissions, but for things such as, I don't know, purposely putting flawed and dangerous ignition switches in cars for decades?  or the fact that all suits against GM for his have been green-lighted by the courts?  

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you guys rip the 500 but you do remember fca made the dart and 200 right? those forgettable cars were really supposed to be the pinnacle of fca's collaborative efforts... 

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51 minutes ago, FAPTurbo said:

you guys rip the 500 but you do remember fca made the dart and 200 right? those forgettable cars were really supposed to be the pinnacle of fca's collaborative efforts... 

I'll stick up for the 200. As a car, it is perfectly fine. It was marketed poorly by Chrysler.  It should have never been a $22k base CamCord competitor. It should have taken on a more premium niche role like a Regal with a 2.0T as the base motor. In V6 C or S trims, they are a very nice place to be. 

This goes back to the giant mistake that Serg is making... trying to have both Dodge and Chrysler as "family" brands while Alfa and Maserati take on the premium role.  Dodge needed a full lineup of small / medium / large sedans and Chrysler needs to be the premium brand that straddles Buick and Lincoln like it once was. 

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5 hours ago, Stew said:

It seems to be working as they sell everyone they can make......

There probably aren't even Alfas in the thousands in the country yet.........  The Fiat 124 sells very well for what it is, and the rest, well, it was obvious, though the 500 does sell similaqr numbers as it's competitors such as the Mini. 


Anyway, this was not deliberately so the government overstretching it's authority again is insane, though not surprising.  And lets not forget how others have had t pay fines, not only for emissions, but for things such as, I don't know, purposely putting flawed and dangerous ignition switches in cars for decades?  or the fact that all suits against GM for his have been green-lighted by the courts?  

Again with the GM comments. This about FCA, not GM. Anything to deflect from the facts about FCA I guess. 

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