FCA to Pay $300 Million Fine for Emissions-Cheating Vehicles
The Volkswagen "Dieselgate" scandal brought emissions-cheating devices to light, as well as the tactics used by automakers skirt the necessary regulations to pass emissions testing. While Volkswagen is one of the more prominent brands for its cheating diesels, other automakers are at fault for doing similar things with their respective diesel engines. The latest brand to reach an agreement with the federal government for its vehicles that cheated emissions regulations is Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
FCA To Plead Guilty
Back in May 2017, the Department of Justice sued FCA. The federal government accused the automaker of installing emissions-cheating devices in approximately 100,000 Ram and Jeep vehicles with a diesel engine. Initially, FCA denied the accusation, but after five years, it looks like FCA has entered into a plea deal with the federal government to the tune of $300 million in fines.
As Reuters reports, the plea deal is expected to be unveiled as early as next week and has already been negotiated with the U.S. Justice Department. After the plea deal is unveiled, the automaker will then have to enter its guilty plea at a subsequent hearting in a U.S. district court claims the outlet.
Reuters claims that FCA and officials from the Department of Justice have been negotiating for years on a deal. Now, FCA is ready to plead guilty to conspiracy criminal charges for equipping Jeep and Ram vehicles with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine with an emissions-cheating devices. The device would help the engine pass emissions testing, but would allow the engine to behave differently on the road. Affected vehicles include 2014 to 2016 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokees.
FCA Is Getting Off Light
While the $300 million fine is a lofty fee, some of the automaker's employees are reportedly in hot water because of the situation. Two FCA employees are being accused of conspiring to install the defeat devices, while another is reportedly facing charges for misleading regulators.
Compared to the fee that Volkswagen had to pay, which was $2.8 billion for its diesel emission scandal that affected roughly 600,000 vehicles, FCA is getting off fairly light. We doubt the U.S. government will force FCA to invest heavily into EVs or set up a new company to install chargers across the country, either. Still, having FCA admit to wrongdoing is bad for the company and could put the automaker in the hot box with consumers.
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