U.S. clears Fiat Chrysler to sell diesels

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - — Bloomberg News

WASH­ING­TON — Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles NV can once again sell new diesel-pow­ered pick­ups and sport util­ity ve­hi­cles in the U.S. af­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tors ap­proved mod­i­fi­ca­tions to its emis­sions-con­trol soft­ware.

Ap­provals from the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board will al­low the com­pany to sell 2017 Jeep Grand Chero­kee and Ram 1500 diesel mod­els.

The agen­cies had with­held cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that emis­sions-con­trol soft­ware on the ve­hi­cles com­plied with clean-air stan­dards af­ter find­ing vi­o­la­tions in ear­lier mod­els.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts of the agen­cies in work­ing with us to achieve this mile­stone,” Fiat Chrysler Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ser­gio Mar­chionne said in a state­ment. “We are anx­ious to build on this progress to make ap­pro­pri­ate up­dates to the emis­sions con­trol soft­ware in our ear­lier model-year ve­hi­cles.”

While Fiat Chrysler doesn’t break out what por­tion of its Jeep or Ram model sales are diesels, the pow­er­trains are sig­nif­i­cant to the com­pany’s mar­ket­ing plans. The diesel Ram 1500 is rated the most fuel-ef­fi­cient full-size pickup in the U.S., and los­ing it from the lineup would have been a set­back to show­rooms.

The ap­proval is a par­tial win for Fiat Chrysler af­ter sev­eral months of talks over the emis­sions soft­ware with EPA and Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­la­tors to ob­tain ap­provals needed to re­sume sales. The EPA is­sued for­mal no­tices in Jan­uary that the 2014 through 2016 mod­els con­tained soft­ware func­tions that vi­o­lated clean air rules.

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