According to a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released on Thursday, January 12, Fiat Chrysler installed software in the engines of approximately 100,000 Dodge Ram trucks and Jeep Cherokees that masked their nitrogen oxide emissions, allowing these vehicles to produce an excessive amount emissions undetected. The car manufacturer failed to disclose this information to the EPA.
"This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, the enforcement head of the EPA. “There is no doubt the devices are contributing to illegal pollution.”
The EPA issued a notice of violation to the company, and stated that neither FCA US LLC nor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV disclosed the engine software used in their Dodge Ram 1500 trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees fitted with 3.0 liter diesel engines and sold in the United States between 2014 and 2016. The car manufacturer may be liable for injunctive relief and civil penalties for the alleged violations.
Giles states that while the EPA in not ready to call the software in question a “defeat device” – software specifically designed to evade testing and regulations – just yet, they are still investigating the company and their actions. According to Giles, the software used in these vehicle’s engines is designed to have them meet pollution standards while they are being tested, but allows the nitrogen oxide levels to increase past that limit during extended driving periods or at high speeds.
The Clear Air Act states that vehicle manufacturers are required to follow a certification process in order to show that their vehicles meet any and all emission standards put in place to control air pollution that apply to their product. They are also required to inform the relevant regulatory bodies and provide an explanation for any auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) that can chance the air pollution emitted by their vehicles. The EPA stated that:
“FCA did not disclose the existence of certain auxiliary emission control devices ... despite being aware that such a disclosure was mandatory. By failing to disclose this software and then selling vehicles that contained it, FCA violated important provisions of the Clean Air Act.”
In addition to the EPA’s notice of violation, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued their own notice of violation to Chrysler Group LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and FCA US LLC after detecting the presence of this unreported software in the two vehicles.
Our attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC are currently investigating claims regarding the use of this illegal software. If you were affected by Fiat Chrysler’s actions, call us to discuss your case with a member of our firm, or fill out our online form to request a free case consultation today.