The Environmental Protection Agency last week publicly accused Fiat Chrysler of failing to mention that it had installed emissions control software in vehicles equipped with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine. If found of wrongdoing, the automaker could face a fine of up to $4.62 billion, so company CEO Sergio Marchionne is, naturally, pretty “pissed off.”
Marchionne is denying the EPA’s allegations and says the engineers within his company aren’t the type to install software in a vehicle with the intention of purposefully breaking the law. Additionally, Volkswagen, which was found guilty of installing cheat software in its diesel passenger cars, denied the software existed upon its discovery, whereas FCA admitted its presence to the EPA immediately.
“The way that it has been described, I think, has been unfair to FCA,” Marchionne told Automotive News. “And that is the thing that disturbs me most. There’s not a guy in this [company] who would try something as stupid as cheating on diesel tests. We don’t belong to a class of criminals.”
The EPA ascertains that EcoDiesel-powered 2014-16 model-year Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram 1500 pickups contain at least eight illegal auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs). An AECD is permitted if it protects the engine against damage or overheating, but become illegal when not disclosed. Curiously, FCA failed to disclose the presence of AECDs when it applied for EPA certification of its EcoDiesel engine.
“Failing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe,” EPA assistant administrator Cynthia Giles said in a statement.