The US Justice Department wants Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to recall some 104k vehicles and pay “very substantial civil penalties” in order to settle its diesel emissions-cheating lawsuit in the US, Bloomberg reports. FCA is accused of violating the Clean Air Act, equipping its diesel-powered US vehicles with “cheat devices” that allow them to operate within regulated limits in testing, but emit illegal quantities of nitrogen oxides during regular operation.
The stipulations for an FCA settlement in the lawsuit were laid out in a letter that the US Justice Department sent to attorneys at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on January 27th, according to Bloomberg. FCA is represented in this case by the same legal team that worked with Volkswagen when it was accused in late-2015 of using diesel emissions cheat devices.
Any recall would have to bring all 104k EcoDiesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokees and RAM 1500s from 2014-2016 into compliance with current emissions regulations, and a “very substantial civil penalty payment is an essential element” of the settlement agreement, although reportedly, FCA and the Justice Department had not discussed dollar amounts as of the end of January. Estimates made last year by Barclays, Mediobanca, and Evercore put the total cost to FCA of the diesel conundrum to FCA at $460 million to more than $1 billion.
Any fines must be large enough to deter future emissions cheating, and should “adequately reflect the seriousness of the conduct that led to these violations,” the Justice Department’s letter said. A settlement, if reached, would not put an end to investigations into the possibility of criminal wrongdoing among FCA’s executive ranks.