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Does Fiat Have a Dieselgate Problem?

On January 12, 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of a violation to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for installing an engine management software in a number of their vehicles that results in emissions of nitrogen oxides.  These emissions do not occur during lab tests or at testing stations but do occur during the normal operation of the vehicles.

 The Clean Air Act requires that vehicles meet applicable federal emissions standards through a certification process which requires vehicle manufacturers to disclose the existence of any software that can alter the emissions from its vehicles.  Although aware of this requirement, Fiat Chrysler did not disclose the existence of this software to the EPA during the certification process for their 2014, 2015 and 2016 diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500’s.  The EPA is continuing to investigate this matter including determining whether the software constitutes a “defeat device”. 

The story of Fiat Chrysler is just beginning as Volkswagon’s emission scandal is nearing to an end.  For Volkswagon, not only was there a $14.7 billion civil settlement but also an indictment of 6 executives and a $4.3 billion criminal settlement.  As the fate of Fiat Chrysler is unknown and this story is still developing and the investigation is ongoing, below are some answers to some preliminary questions for owners of the subject Fiat Chrysler vehicles.

1.       Have any lawsuits been filed?

Yes.   On January 13, 2017, one day after the notice of violation was issued to Fiat Chrysler a nationwide class action was filed in federal court in Alabama alleging that Fiat Chrysler misled customers and regulators.  Although the case is filed in Alabama, the plaintiff is seeking to represent a nationwide class, not just citizens of Alabama who owned/leased/or otherwise acquired one of the affected Fiat Chrysler vehicles.  The case is called Warren v. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V and FCA US LLC.

2.       How many vehicles are affected?

According to the EPA, there are approximately 104,000 vehicles that were sold in the United States.

3.       Can the vehicles continue to be driven?

According to the EPA, the vehicles can continue to be driven.  There is currently no recall of these vehicles.