FCA US pleads guilty to diesel emission probe, expected to pay US$300-M

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Depp and Heard weren't the only ones to have their cases concluded last week. On June 3, Stellantis-owned FCA US LLC announced that its case regarding the diesel emission probe has finally come to an end, with sentencing scheduled for July 18.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How did FCA end up in this diesel emission probe?

    According to the US Department of Justice, FCA US manipulated its vehicles' emission results by installing a software that allows the vehicles to pass federal tests.
  • When is the sentencing scheduled for?

    Per the US Department of Justice, the sentencing is scheduled for July 18.
  • “FCA US LLC (FCA US) has agreed to a settlement that resolves a US Department of Justice criminal investigation involving approximately 101,482 vehicles from model years 2014 to 2016 equipped with second-generation EcoDiesel V6 engines,” Stellantis said in a press release.

    “The agreement, which is subject to US federal court approval, includes a guilty plea, a fine of US$96.1 million, and the forfeiture of US$203.6 million (USD) in gains derived from the conduct,” the press release continued.

    “Consumer claims related to the subject vehicles have already been resolved, and no additional recalls are required,” it further read.

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    Similarly, the United States Department of Justice issued on its website a press release further detailing the trial’s resolution and said that FCA US was charged “with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act.”

    “FCA US engaged in a multi-year scheme to mislead US regulators and customers. Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the department’s dedication to prosecuting all types of corporate malfeasance and holding accountable companies that seek to place profits above candor, good corporate governance, and timely remediation,” said Justice Department’s Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr.

    “We expect all corporations to deal with regulators and the public openly and honestly. Unfortunately, one of our district’s biggest corporations fell far short of that standard, resulting in today’s guilty plea. My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who engages in fraud and deceit that violates federal law, from an individual to one of the world’s largest automakers,” commented Eastern District of Michigan US Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

    The diesel emission affair involved more than 100,000 vehicles including 2014, 2015, and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. The US Department of Justice said that according to court documents, “FCA US installed software features in the Subject Vehicles and engaged in other deceptive and fraudulent conduct intended to avoid regulatory scrutiny and fraudulently help the Subject Vehicles meet the required emissions standards, while maintaining features that would make them more attractive to consumers, including with respect to fuel efficiency, service intervals, and performance.”

    Apparently, the automotive firm purposely calibrated the emissions control systems on the abovementioned vehicles, allowing them to produce fewer NOx emissions when the vehicles were undergoing federal test procedures, or driving “cycles,” than when they were being driven by the carmaker’s customers under normal driving conditions.

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    “FCA’s attempts to circumvent pollution standards undermine the laws in place to protect human health, the environment, and consumers. Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s continued and steadfast commitment to enforcing the Clean Air Act and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing,” said Justice Department Environment and Natural Resources Division Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim.

    “Emissions testing is an important requirement of the Clean Air Act because it protects our nation’s air quality. Today’s guilty plea demonstrates EPA’s commitment to hold companies like Fiat Chrysler accountable for violating environmental regulations that protect public health and the environment,” said Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield.

    Photos from Stellantis

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