Fiat Chrysler files for 2017 diesel certification after emissions controversy
Jeep and Ram parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed an application featuring updated emissions software late last week for diesel emissions certification with the EPA. The filing came just days after reports of the Department of Justice preparing to take the automaker to court over the EPA’s allegations of diesel emissions discrepancies in 2014-16 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models. The EPA had earlier issued a Notice of Violation to the automaker in connection with claims of undisclosed “Auxiliary Emission Control Devices” (AECDs) in these models. FCA had been working on a software update for the trucks to resolve the issue and continue offering the two 3.0-liter diesel V6 models.
“The filing is the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology,” Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. “With 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.”
The automaker had pushed back against the EPA’s claims early on, though FCA boss Sergio Marchionne admitted at one point that the company may not have followed proper disclosure procedures for all emissions control devices in these models, indicating that FCA had made “mistakes.” But Marchionne denied claims that the company intentionally used AECDs in these vehicles to bypass emissions standards in the U.S.
Earlier this year, the EPA had threatened fines against the automaker, citing a potential $4.6 billion bill, or $44,539 per vehicle, though since the January 2017 statement the agency had been quiet about the issue of potential fines.
“FCA US expects that following EPA and CARB approval, owners of the 2014-2016 MY vehicles will be able to receive the software updates at their dealerships,” Fiat Chrysler said in a statement. “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.”
It’s not clear if the EPA still intends to pursue fines against the automaker if the software updates are accepted by the agency and applied to 2014-17 vehicles through a recall campaign. Industry analysts do not expect that FCA will be able to avoid monetary penalties entirely, given the tremendous amounts that VW had been ordered to spend on recall and compensation efforts.
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