FCA Allegedly Caught Cheating Emissions by EPA

Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again.

As soon as one emissions scandal comes to a head, another begins. We've followed VW's Dieselgate since the bomb dropped more than a year ago, seeing fines stack up and indictments being made. As it turns out, though, they may not be the only ones who used a bit of tomfoolery with the EPA. The federal agency has now accused FCA of using emission cheating devices in their light duty EcoDiesel V6 engines, affecting the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models with the powerplant.

The EPA has stated that the auto giant violated the Clean Air Act by fitting these engines with equipment that allows excessive NOx emissions -- without telling them. That's the big no-no in this case. Regulations do allow for manufacturers to install such systems, but they must them disclose them with the agency. FCA denies such allegations, stating that their products "meet the applicable requirements".

A further announcement was made by the manufacturer, saying "FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not ‘defeat devices’ under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously,” 

This investigation will affect ~104,000 Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees sold with the EcoDiesel engine. FCA has market their 3.0L V6 diesels as a selling point for fuel economy, promising better MPG while still maintaining a load of work capabilities. The engine has been on the market since 2014.

Initially, this is a similar situation that Volkswagen faced in their ongoing headache. "Cheat devices" were implicated in their case, leading to an astronomical amount of legal and buyback/repair fees. The dust is beginning to settle for the German manufacturer, but programs have just begun in order to make things right with their customers. A recent development resulted in the prosecution of 6 former VW executives.

The EPA is still looking into the case to determine legality. If their investigation comes back clear, than FCA can breathe a sigh of relief. But if not, they may be in a for a whirlwind that can last a long time -- just ask VW.