Fiat-Chrysler to pay more than $300 million in emissions cheating settlement

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 11, 2019

Fiat Chrysler agreed on Thursday to pay hundreds of millions of dollars, including a $300 million fine to the USA government, to settle allegations that the Italian-American automaker cheated on emissions tests.

In last year's third quarter, Fiat Chrysler, also known as FCA, took an US$810 million (700 million euros) charge to deal with possible USA diesel emissions settlement costs, cutting into the company's profits.

The settlement includes fines and more than $300 million in "consumer relief" and requires Fiat Chrysler to establish a recall program offering motorists an approved plan for modification their emissions systems.

FCA also settled a class action lawsuit over the diesel issue and this means current and former owners will be eligible to receive a payment of approximately $2,800 (£2,195 / €2,434). The recalls include model year 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pick ups.

Fiat Chrysler will agree to corporate governance reforms meant to prevent future emissions violations under the agreement, the person said.

The settlement is scheduled to be announced Thursday by the Justice Department in Washington, the person said.

The expensive reprimand centers around Fiat Chrysler's use of illegal engine-controlled software, which allowed thousands of its diesel-fueled cars to produce false emissions tests results. The company has set aside more than $30 billion to cover costs and settlements, including $15 billion to buy back or fix vehicles in the U.S.

The settlement marks the conclusion of a lawsuit first brought on by the Justice Department in 2017.

The Justice Department also opened a criminal investigation into Fiat Chrysler's conduct, and several state attorneys general also were investigating.

Fiat Chrysler won't admit wrongdoing in the settlement.

"Fiat Chrysler deceived consumers and the federal government by installing (hidden software) on these vehicles that undermined important clean air protections", said Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Authorities say the vehicles were equipped with diesel engines programmed to run pollution controls during lab tests that would turn off under certain conditions on the road. Asked about the criminal case on Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler said it wouldn't comment on speculation.

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