Fiat Chrysler will pay nearly $800M in emis­sions case

The Sun Herald - - Business - BY NEAL E. BOUDETTE

Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles will pay hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in penal­ties and re­me­dial ef­forts un­der an agree­ment an­nounced Thursday to set­tle law­suits over false emis­sions read­ings on diesel ve­hi­cles.

In­clud­ing ex­tended war­ranties and other pro­vi­sions, the set­tle­ment could cost the com­pany close to $800 mil­lion.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment sued the com­pany in 2017 over the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s find­ing that it had used il­le­gal en­gine-con­trol soft­ware that turned off pol­lu­tion con­trols un­der cer­tain driv­ing con­di­tions. The EPA con­tended that the soft­ware en­abled the ve­hi­cles to pass emis­sions tests while al­low­ing them to re­lease higher lev­els of pol­lu­tants in nor­mal driv­ing, con­duct the agency called “se­ri­ous and egre­gious.”

Un­der the set­tle­ment, the com­pany will pay $305 mil­lion in civil penal­ties in con­nec­tion with those claims, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said, and an­other $6 mil­lion over al­le­ga­tions of il­le­gally im­port­ing non­com­pli­ant ve­hi­cles.

It will also pay $19 mil­lion to mit­i­gate ex­cess emis­sions from non­com­pli­ant ve­hi­cles in Cal­i­for­nia, which also sued the com­pany.

“Fiat Chrysler’s effort to de­feat emis­sions con­trols is a clear vi­o­la­tion of the law, and they also tried to hide their ac­tions,” the EPA’s act­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor, An­drew Wheeler, said in a con­fer­ence call. “The EPA caught them cheat­ing.”

As part of the agree­ment, Fiat Chrysler will re­call about 100,000 diesel-pow­ered Ram 1500 trucks and Jeep Grand Chero­kee SUVs from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years, a per­son briefed on the set­tle­ment said. The re­call re­pair in­volves in­stalling new soft­ware in the ve­hi­cles and pro­vid­ing ex­tended war­ranties, at a to­tal cost of up to $185 mil­lion, the Jus­tice Depart­ment said.

Ve­hi­cle own­ers will be eligible for com­pen­sa­tion of $990 to $3,075 from Fiat Chrysler and Bosch, a Ger­man com­pany that sup­plied en­gine com­put­ers and soft­ware.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment said the set­tle­ment did not re­solve any po­ten­tial crim­i­nal li­a­bil­ity.

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