Is Fiat Chrysler the Next Volkswagen?
Just one day after Volkswagen plead guilty to using emissions-cheating software (and was forced to pay $4.3 billion as part of a settlement agreement), The Environmental Protection Agency is now accusing Fiat Chrysler of similar charges. Merrit Kennedy, “EPA Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Installing Emissions-Cheating Software,” www.npr.org, (Jan. 12, 2017). The EPA stated that Fiat Chrysler has allegedly installed software in over 100,000 cars that alter emissions, violating the Clean Air Act. Id.
After failing to disclose their software to regulators during the certification process, Fiat Chrysler used software that results in increased emission of nitrogen oxides, which are types of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Id. Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator, stated, “The software is designed such that during the emissions test, Fiat Chrysler’s diesel cars meet the standards that protect clean air, however, under some other kinds of operating conditions, including many that occur frequently during normal driving, the software directs the emissions control system to operate differently, resulting in emissions that can be much higher.” Id.
At the moment, the vehicles remain legal to drive, so owners are not required to take any action. Id. The EPA stated that Fiat Chrysler may also be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief due to their illegal conduct. Id. Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, is in charge of the investigation. Id.