The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler over allegations it used an illegal cheat device in vehicles equipped with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.
According to The Detroit News, the DoJ could file a suit against FCA by as early as this week if the two entities fail to resolve the issue in talks. FCA is currently negotiating with lawmakers and may reach an agreement in order to avoid litigation.
If brought forth, the suit would allege that FCA used defeat devices in 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram 1500 pickups with the EcoDiesel engine and failed to disclose their presence. FCA’s software is suspected to alter the emissions levels produced by the engine under certain driving scenarios. An Environmental Protection Agency statement said the devices “appear to cause the vehicle to perform differently when the vehicle is being tested than in normal operation and use.”
FCA initially refuted the DoJ’s and EPA’s claims and expressed confidence the EcoDiesel engine would eventually be certified for the 2017 model year. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne changed his tone a bit last month, however, saying the company “may have made mistakes,” in regards to disclosing the software, but added they never intentionally tried to break the law.
The DoJ declined to comment on the ongoing investigation when asked by The Detroit News.