State to re­ceive $78.4M as Fiat Chrysler set­tles law­suit

De­vices al­lowed diesel ve­hi­cles to cheat tests

The Mercury News Weekend - - DATA - By Nico Savidge [email protected] ba­yare­anews­group.com

Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles will pay $800 mil­lion to set­tle a law­suit from state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tors who ac­cused the com­pany of cheat­ing on emis­sions tests.

Un­der terms of the set­tle­ment, Cal­i­for­nia will re­ceive $78.4 mil­lion from the com­pany for vi­o­lat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and con­sumer pro­tec­tion laws, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra an­nounced Thurs­day.

Fiat Chrysler also agreed to launch a re­call pro­gram that will up­date soft­ware on its diesel pickup trucks to bring them into com­pli­ance with emis­sions lim­its, and to pro­vide com­pen­sa­tion worth $2,800 on av­er­age to own­ers.

An es­ti­mated 100,000 diesel Jeep Grand Chero­kees and Dodge Ram 1500s from the 2014-2016 model years had de­vices that brought lev­els of ni­tro­gen ox­ide be­low emis­sions lim­its dur­ing tests, but al­lowed themto ex­ceed lim­its in ev­ery­day driv­ing, the law­suit al­leged. About 13,000 of the trucks were sold in Cal­i­for­nia.

Reg­u­la­tors from theU.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board dis­cov­ered the de­vices after en­act­ing more strin­gent test­ing for diesel ve­hi­cles in the wake of the 2015 scan­dal over Volk­swa­gen’s cheat­ing on emis­sions tests.

The $800 mil­lion Fiat Chrysler will spend to set- tle the case in­cludes $500 mil­lion worth of penal­ties the com­pany must pay to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and all 50 states, as well as the cost of the re­call and com­pen­sa­tion for own­ers.

“Cal­i­for­nia’s emis­sion stan­dards ex­ist to pro­tect our res­i­dents and the en­vi­ron­ment fromharm­ful pol­lu­tion. Fiat Chrysler tried to evade these stan­dards by in­stalling soft­ware to cheat emis­sions test­ing,” Be­cerra said in a state­ment Thurs­day. “With this set­tle­ment, we are hold­ing Fiat Chrysler ac­count­able and se­cur­ing im­por­tant funds for en- vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ef­forts.”

The com­pany did not ad­mit wrong­do­ing as part of the set­tle­ment, and as­serted in a state­ment that it “did not en­gage in any de­lib­er­ate scheme to in­stall de­feat de­vices to cheat emis­sions tests.”

The money Cal­i­for­nia re­ceives will go into the state’s Air Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Fund, which is man­aged by the air re­sources board. It will be used to “fully mit­i­gate the ex­cess ni­tro­gen ox­ide emis­sions from the af­fected ve­hi­cles,” ac­cord­ing to Be­cerra’s of­fice.

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