Fiat Chrysler Will Pay Feds $300M for Emissions Defeat Device Scandal: Report

FCA US LLC was accused of falsifying emissions in more than 100,000 trucks and SUVs.

byJames GilboyMay 26, 2022 7:01 PM
Engine cover of a 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V6 in a 2022 Jeep Wrangler
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Volkswagen's "Dieselgate" diesel emissions scandal brought to light emissions "defeat devices" allegedly used by automakers looking to skirt regulations. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—now part of Stellantis—was caught in that net in May 2017 when the Department of Justice sued FCA, accusing it of installing illegal emissions devices in more than 100,000 Ram and Jeep vehicles. FCA initially denied the accusation but has now reportedly entered a plea deal that will see it pay $300 million in fines.

The deal could be announced next week according to Reuters, which reports FCA, now a division of Stellantis, will enter the plea in a district court hearing. After years of negotiating with DOJ officials, FCA reportedly agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy criminal charges for equipping vehicles with 3.0-liter turbodiesel engines with defeat devices that would certify the engines during emissions testing, but behave differently on the road. Affected vehicles were reported in 2017 to include model-year 2014-2016 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with the turbodiesel engines.

Ram official gestures to the 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V6 at an event in 2013 | Ram

While the company is reportedly on the hook for $300 million in penalties, some of its employees are said to be in the hot seat as well. One unidentified FCA employee reportedly faces charges for misleading regulators, while two others are accused of conspiring to install defeat devices.

For context, VW, was dealt a $2.8 billion penalty by the feds for its violations. By comparison, FCA (and therefore Stellantis) may be getting off relatively light and won't have to funnel billions into a national EV charging network, but cheating is cheating. It's not a good look for anyone.

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