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US preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler over excess diesel emissions

19 May, 2017, 01:16 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • A woman walks past a logo of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Turin

The group was accused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and latterly, the DoJ, of failing to disclose engine management software in its vehicles, including Jeep Cherokees and Dodge Ram trucks, which could result in an emissions output that was too high.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) said the litigation was "counterproductive" and "in the case of any litigation, FCA US will defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the company deliberately installed defeat devices to cheat US emissions tests".

The EPA said in January that FCA was using software that allowed diesel vehicles to emit more pollution on the road than they do in emissions tests.

Italy has 2 months to reply to the Commission's demand and might be ultimately taken to the European Court of Justice if the response is found to be unconvincing.

Italy is disappointed by the European Union's plan to launch legal action against Rome over emissions at Fiat Chrysler, the country's transport minister said, adding authorities had from start ruled out the presence of any cheating devices at the carmaker. That mediation ended without fanfare in March.

"The commission's action highlights that the Italian government tried to whitewash emissions cheating by Fiat Chrysler rather than protect the health of its citizens", Ugo Taddei, a lawyer for ClientEarth, said, via the Guardian.

Under the current system, which the European Commission is trying to overhaul, national regulators approve new cars and alone have the power to police manufacturers.

Up to this point, the European Commission has been mediating a dispute between Germany and Italy regarding the tests.

The notice is the first step in the EU's infringement procedure that ensures the bloc's 28 member states abide by EU-wide regulations. According to the commission, these devices were most likely used to cheat on emission tests.

The accusations involving the Italian auto giant come in the wake of the Volkswagen "dieselgate" scandal, revealed in 2015, that affected 11 million cars.

The Commission's original proposal gives the executive new testing and enforcement powers, but does not pave the way for an European Union agency.

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