The very same week that Volkswagen agreed to settle criminal and civil charges relating to cheating on diesel emissions tests through software manipulation, Fiat-Chrysler has been accused of similar issues in a Notice of Violation tendered by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) have been working together since September, 2015, in an expanded testing program that searches for defeat devices. During the new tests it was found that 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram Trucks equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel engine had no less than eight different undisclosed emissions software devices.
While the notice does not specifically accuse FCA of intentionally skirting the law, it does call into question FCA’s failure to disclose and the potential illegality of the software itself. In the letter the EPA makes it clear such failure to disclose any software affecting emissions is illegal.
The EPA has placed the responsibility of proving that the software found does not qualify as an emissions testing defeat device squarely on FCA’s shoulders.
FCA has responded to the accusations, saying that these claims are in no way like the VW Dieselgate scandal. CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated the devices in question were not used to defeat the test cycle used for emissions qualification, and are in full compliance with all regulations regarding emissions.