Fiat Chrysler has to pay about $ 650 million for cheating emissions
WASHINGTON (AP) – Fiat Chrysler will pay more than $ 650 million to reject allegations that it falsified emissions tests involving more than 104,000 Jeep SUV & # 39; s and Ram pickup trucks, a person with knowledge of the settlement at The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Italian-American car manufacturer has to pay approximately $ 311 million in fines to the federal government and the Californian regulators, according to the person who was not authorized to discuss the settlement in public and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Under the deal, the company also has to pay about $ 280 million to compensate vehicle owners – resulting in payouts of about $ 2,800 per owner – as well as another $ 72 million to settle claims from other states, the person said.
Federal officials claim that the 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram pickups, made between 2014 and 2016, were equipped with diesel engines that were programmed to perform pollution checks during laboratory tests that would be turned off on the road under certain conditions.
Fiat Chrysler will not admit a crime as part of the civil settlement. The company said that its software met all legal requirements and that it was not intended to violate the law. A lawyer from the company did not respond immediately to a call and e-mail looking for comments on Wednesday night.
The settlement, which is expected to be announced Thursday by the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, is the second between the US government and a car manufacturer about accusations that hinder diesel emissions.
FILE – In this May 6, 2014, photo of a file, a vehicle moves past a sign outside the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Fiat Chrysler pays more than $ 650 million to combat allegations that it falsified emissions tests involving more than 104,000 Jeep SUV & # 39; s and Ram pickup trucks, a person with knowledge of the settlement told The Associated Press on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. (AP Photo / Carlos Osorio, File)
In 2016 Volkswagen pleaded guilty to criminal prosecution and agreed to pay a fine of 2.8 billion dollars to settle government lawsuits. The company also agreed to buy back some vehicles, repair others, pay to reduce environmental damage and settle lawsuits for a cost of over $ 30 billion. Approximately 500,000 VW vehicles were involved in the US cheat scandal.
The Ministry of Justice also opened a criminal investigation into the behavior of Fiat Chrysler, and several state attorneys general were also investigating.
In the third quarter of last year, Fiat Chrysler, also known as FCA, charged an amount of $ 810 million (700 million euros) to cover possible US emission costs for diesel emissions, which reduced the company's profits.
The US Environmental Protection Agency first accused FCA of a misconduct in January 2017 when it issued a notice claiming that the company violated the Clean Air Act with excessive emissions of harmful nitric oxide. Four months later, the Ministry of Justice prosecuted on behalf of the EPA the fact that software on diesel engines allowed them to emit more pollution on the road than during EPA laboratory tests.
The government accused FCA of placing eight "software-based functions" on 3-liter V6 engines that powered the Jeep and Ram vehicles. FCA did not release the software during the process to become certified, so that the vehicles can be sold according to the EPA. The agency called the software a "manipulation device" that changes the way the vehicles test on a treadmill in a laboratory.
"Each of these vehicles differs substantially from the specifications provided to EPA in the certification applications," the government said.
FCA argued that, unlike VW, it had not installed the software with the intention of cheating on tests. The software has disabled the pollution control system under extreme conditions such as climbing mountains to prevent engine damage, which is allowed by federal regulations, according to FCA.
The federal lawsuit demanded civil fines of more than $ 4 billion, as well as court orders that stopped the company to make or sell vehicles with unpublished software.
At that time, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne denied any form of offense and said that the EPA had a disproportionate impact on the problem. Marchionne died last year.
Krisher reported from Detroit.
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