The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has slapped Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US with a Clean Air Act violation notice after discovering emissions-altering software in some of its 3.0-litre diesel engines.
Although this is not a confirmation of FCA US cheating on emissions testing, the Clean Air Act in the US states that car-makers must reveal and detail any programs that can change vehicle pollutants – something that FCA has allegedly failed to do.
The affected vehicles include up to 104,000 Ram 1500 pick-ups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from 2014 to 2016 equipped with FCA’s 3.0-litre diesel engine, some of which were sold in Australia.
The EPA discovered the use of the software after tightening emissions testing standards in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal, expanding its scope to test for cheating programs and devices.
The US agency found at least eight previously undisclosed pieces of software in the FCA vehicles in question, which produced higher levels of NOx emissions under real-world driving conditions and could alter how pollution is emitted.
All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.
The car-making giant has categorically and quickly denied any wrongdoing, stating that “FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements”.
In a statement released by the car-maker: “FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-2016 model year light-duty 3.0-litre diesel engines.
“FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.”
EPA office of enforcement and compliance assistant administrator Cynthia Giles called the breach “a serious violation of the law” and that the agency would work hard to resolve the issue.
“We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices,” she said. “All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.”
If found guilty of breaching the Clean Air Act, FCA could face hefty fines and penalties in line with what Volkswagen has had to cough up.
FCA Australia chose not to comment citing the ongoing investigation in the US.
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