U.S. clears Fiat Chrysler to sell diesels
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.