- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) reportedly pleads guilty to emissions cheating
- Manufacturer was first charged by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2017
- Australian models and customers unaffected
The United States division of Stellantis, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), will reportedly pay around US$300 million (AU$423m) in penalties after reaching a plea deal to resolve a multi-year emissions fraud probe.
As reported by Reuters, the car maker is set to plead guilty after being charged with criminal conspiracy relating to its evasion of emissions requirements for over 100,000 diesel-powered Jeep and Ram vehicles in North America.
It’s understood the 3.0-litre V6 ‘EcoDiesel’ engines fitted to Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SUV and Ram’s 1500 pick-up between 2014 to 2016 were equipped with software which allowed the vehicles to pass stringent emissions tests, despite violating clean-air laws in real-world driving.
The investigation and subsequent processes have taken over five years to reach this point, with FCA having first been accused by the US Environmental Protection Agency of using hidden software in January 2017.
FCA was sued later that year by the US Government’s Department of Justice over the EPA’s claim, with the first charges handed down in 2019 – resulting in the manufacturer having to pay roughly US$800 million (AU$1.1billion) in a raft of fines, recalls and customer compensation settlements.
Bosch – suppliers of the engine control units (ECU) for the vehicles – was also made to pay customers US$27.5m (A$38m) in the settlement for its part, while also agreeing to hand over USD $103.7million (A$144m) to 50 jurisdictions.
While the Grand Cherokee was Jeep’s best-selling vehicle in Australia between 2014 and 2016, the US case didn’t affect local examples of the SUV.