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Thu Jan 10, 2019, 05:00 PM

Fiat Chrysler agrees to nearly $800 million settlement over emissions cheating charges

Source: Washington Post

Energy and Environment
Fiat Chrysler agrees to nearly $800 million settlement over emissions cheating charges

U.S. officials had accused the company of installing software that enables certain diesel trucks to meet government emissions standards during lab tests, even though they emit far more pollution during real-world driving.

By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
January 10 at 4:53 PM

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed Thursday to a settlement with U.S. regulators and other plaintiffs that could cost the automaker roughly $800 million to resolve allegations that it cheated on emissions tests. ... "By concealing this software, Fiat Chrysler deceived regulators and violated environmental law," Jesse Panuccio, principal deputy associate attorney general, told reporters in a briefing at the department's headquarters. "Fiat Chrysler's conduct was serious and egregious. Its deception robbed the public of the clean air we work hard to protect and put law-abiding competitors at a disadvantage."

Under the terms of the settlement, the automaker agreed to implement a recall program to repair more than 100,000 out-of-compliance pickup trucks and SUVs, offer an extended warranty on those vehicles and pay a civil penalty of $305 million to settle claims of "cheating on emission tests and failing to disclose unlawful defeat devices," the Justice Department said. Separately, the company agreed to pay certain vehicle owners $990 to $3,075 each -- an amount that could total more than $300 million -- to settle class-action claims.

The agreement includes $70 million to improve the efficiency of 200,000 catalytic converters that will be sold in the 47 states that do not require as efficient automotive technology as California, along with $19 million the firm will provide California to offset its vehicles' harmful emissions. Environmental Protection Agency officials said these measures would eliminate at least 35,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, a smog-forming pollutant that causes heart and lung disease.

Fiat Chrysler admitted to no wrongdoing on its part in the settlement, but government officials noted the deal does not resolve any potential criminal liability. ... The company said Thursday the settlements do not change its position that it did not engage in any deliberate scheme to cheat on emissions tests.

Brady Dennis is a national reporter for The Washington Post, focusing on the environment and public health issues. He previously spent years covering the nation's economy. Dennis was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for a series of explanatory stories about the global financial crisis. Follow https://twitter.com/brady_dennis

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's senior national affairs correspondent, covering how the new administration is transforming a range of U.S. policies and the federal government itself. She is the author of two books -- one on sharks and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other -- and has worked for The Post since 1998. Follow https://twitter.com/eilperin

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2019/01/10/fiat-chrysler-agrees-potential-million-settlement-over-emissions-cheating-charges/

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