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EPA Investigates Fiat Chrysler’s Diesel Emissions; Claims of Clean Air Act Violations

Vehicle Recalls, Vehicle Recall Alerts, NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fiat Chrysler

EPA Investigates Fiat Chrysler; Claims of Clean Air Act Violations

In the last days of the Obama administration the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) are working overtime to conclude their investigations into the world’s largest automakers and their suppliers. Just one day after the federal government charged six Volkswagen executives for crimes connected to the German automaker’s massive diesel emissions cheating scandal, the EPA announced details of their investigation into Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for the same reasons. Reports have also come to light indicating that the DoJ is in the middle of their own inquiry into the Italian automaker over the alleged diesel engine emissions cheating, but they have not confirmed or released any details.

Federal and state regulators allege that Fiat Chrysler is in violation of the Clean Air Act by not reporting the existence of engine regulating software in more than 100,000 of their diesel engines. Fiat Chrysler asserts that there has been no impropriety and that the software is there to regulate the engine’s performance—not to deceive emissions regulators. The CEO of Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, went as far as to say the contention that FCA attempted to cheat emissions standards is “absolute nonsense.” But the EPA, DoJ, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are not so sure.

“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” said Mary Nichols, chair of the CARB board. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhance testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

CARB and the EPA are currently probing 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks, both which are equipped with one of FCA’s 3-liter diesel engines that have the undisclosed software made by Bosch, one of the world’s largest automotive parts suppliers. Bosch, a German engineering and electronics company, is also currently under investigation by federal authorities for making the software, now known as the “defeat device.” It was Bosch’s software that helped Volkswagen make their diesel engines look as if they were compliant with emissions standards when they were far exceeding them.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Insists No Defeat Device Installed


“We are confident that no one at FCA committed any fraud or tried not to be compliant,” said Marchionne, who has been CEO of Fiat Chrysler since 2009. “We may be technically deficient but not immoral. We never installed any defeat device.”

At this point no evidence has been released that shows Fiat Chrysler cheating on an emissions test, but by not telling authorities about the Bosch software they may be in violation of the Clean Air Act. Some regulators, however, go one step further and believe that, just like Volkswagen’s diesel engines, the FCA vehicles in question are polluting more on the road than in the lab. If that claim turns out to be true, the EPA estimates Fiat Chrysler could be on the hook for over $4.6 billion in fines. Volkswagen’s scandal is six times larger in size (600,000+ affected vehicles) and so far the German automaker has been forced to pay more than $20 billion to the U.S. government, North American consumers, and to mitigate the pollution caused by the affected diesel engines.

The federal probe comes as more bad news to Fiat Chrysler owners and shareholders who have been witness to a series of recent calamities. In June, Fiat Chrysler settled a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission for nearly $15 billion over accusations they were misleading U.S. consumers about some of their engines being clean diesels when they were not. And Fiat Chrysler is also currently under investigation by U.S. authorities for shady sales practices, where the automaker has been alleged to artificially inflate their sales numbers by paying dealers to falsify sales reports.

Shares of Fiat Chrysler were selling for over $11 before the investigation was announced and then immediately fell 10% after traders heard the news. The stock has not yet recovered, but it is up to $9.49 a share from around $7 one year ago.

NHTSA Investigates Fiat Chrysler Over Dodge “Roll-Away” Threat

Vehicle Recalls, Vehicle Recall Alerts, NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fiat Chrysler

NHTSA Investigates 1 Million Dodge Vehicles Over “Roll-Away” Threat For the second time this year Fiat-Chrysler is under investigation by the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) over alleged incidents of vehicle “roll-aways.” U.S. authorities have once again found that the problems stem from the electronic transmission gear selectors, which have replaced traditional gear-shifters in the […]

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Chrysler Rollaway Tragedy Highlights Problems with Emerging Car Technology

Orlando Product Liability & Consumer Justice Law Firm, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me, Orlando Florida Attorneys, Find a Lawyer, Attorney Search

The untimely death of young actor Anton Yelchin, whose 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against a brick pillar, has highlighted yet another major recall addressing yet another major automotive safety defect. Specifically, the investigation into Mr. Yelchin’s death is now focusing on whether the shifter defect at the heart of Chrysler’s […]

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The Takata Airbag Defect: What Florida’s Consumer Advocates Need to Know. -William C. Ourand, Esq.

Takata Update, Takata News, Deployed Airbag, Takata Airbag Scandal, Takatagate, Florida Airbag Attorney, Orlando Airbag Lawyer, Orlando Product Liability Lawyers

Florida is the “epicenter” of the Takata airbag debacle which has resulted in the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Unfortunately, all signs indicate that the severe injuries and deaths will continue into the foreseeable future. The roadways remain flooded with millions of vehicles which may still be equipped with the potentially lethal airbags. Moreover, […]

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Chrysler Issues Two Recalls Totaling Approximately 841,000 Vehicles

This summer, a handful of major automobile manufacturers have issued recalls affecting thousands of vehicles. Last week, Honda issued a recall of more than 700,000 Fit models due to a potential overheating or fire hazard with the vehicles’ power switch. Another major automobile manufacturer also recalled a large number of vehicles last week as well.

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Chrysler Recalling 61,400 SUVs After Reports Of Broken Drive Shafts

 Heat shields are installed on most automobiles as a means of protecting the vehicle body and other structural components from the excessive temperatures caused by the combustion engines. The problem, though, is that if the heat shield fails or breaks, then it can cause considerably more damage than it is intended to prevent. That is the focus of one of six separate recall efforts announced by Chrysler this week, as a potential manufacturing defect with heat shields can lead to broken drive shafts.

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