Fiat Chrysler seeks diesel emission certification from EPA

M - Amid investigations into alleged emissions violations from its 3.0-liter diesel V-6, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it's asked regulators to greenlight the sale of the engine in certain model-year 2017 vehicles with updated emissions software.

"The filing (of the application) is the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the company's emissions control technology", the automaker said in its statement.

Friday's announcement came a day after the company said it was in talks to resolve a Justice Department investigation.

FCA's diesels have also been the subject of attention in Europe.

The automaker believes the software fix it has proposed will resolve concerns from the federal government and the California Air Resources Board and clear the way for it to finally sell more than 104,000 SUVs and pickups.

Fiat Chrysler says it will modify about 100,000 diesel vehicles in an effort to reach a settlement with US regulators, as separate academic studies provided mounting evidence that the carmaker had installed software meant to evade emissions standards.

A representative for the EPA declined to comment.

The EPA alleges that FCA used a 'cheat device' on its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine and failed to disclose its presence to regulators. Gas variants of both vehicles are already on sale in the US.

Earlier in the month, FCA filed a motion to dismiss the emissions lawsuit that claims Dodge Ram trucks emit illegal levels of nitrogen oxides; FCA allegedly covered this up with the use of "defeat devices" during emissions testing.

Volkswagen was forced to pay $2.8 billion in criminal fines and $1.5 billion in civil penalties after the German company admitted to programming its diesel cars to trick emissions testers into believing the engines released far less pollution into the air than they actually do, in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

Although Fiat Chrysler is unlikely to have to pay as much as Volkswagen, the emissions cheating, if proved, could still be expensive and badly damage the company's reputation at a time when it is grappling with low profitability.

The emission-cheating scheme has cost Volkswagen more than $20 billion in fines and settlements, in addition to goodwill among some US drivers.

Fiat Chrysler said it believed the updates would help it reach settlements with the EPA and the Justice Department.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan, company said that if its application is approved by the agencies, vehicle owners would be able to get the software updates at their dealerships, but did not give a time frame.

  • Zachary Reyes