In 2021, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) became part of the Stellantis conglomerate of over a dozen auto manufacturers, which was an exciting move. However, FCA has reportedly negotiated a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department over a years-long probe regarding emissions fraud with select Ram and Jeep vehicles. It looks like the company will be pleading guilty to criminal conduct and face fines upwards of $300 million. With the FCA being part of Stellantis, that massive fine now goes to the conglomerate.
Stellantis On The Hook For FCA Diesel Scandal
Reuters explains that 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500 trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from 2014 to 2016 were the subject of the investigation. In 2017, the EPA issued a notice of violation to FCA for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 was said to emit increased nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in certain driving situations, specifically at higher speeds. The company is said to have gotten the stamp of approval on the second-generation EcoDiesel engine by using engine management software that wasn’t disclosed to the EPA during testing.
The EcoDieselgate scandal has been ongoing. In 2019, FCA settled civil, environmental, and consumer claims regarding diesel emission violations, resulting in a hefty fine of $800 million. Recall notices for approximately 100,000 Ram and Jeep vehicles went out for updated engine software, rectifying the issue. FCA stated that the update wouldn’t affect overall fuel consumption or drivability, but some owners have noticed drops in-vehicle power and economy. The company has since debuted its third-generation EcoDiesel engine, which is said to be complaint with the EPA’s rulebook.
In addition to the guilty plea, the report states that an employee could be facing charges of misleading regulators regarding the issue. An indictment claims that the individual allegedly conspired to install defeat devices to pass vehicles during testing. FCA has stated that no such devices were used, and in the 2019 settlement, the company stands by its position while not admitting to any violations of rules.