Administration sues Fiat Chrysler, says 100K vehicles used ‘defeat devices’ to fool emissions tests

The Trump administration on Tuesday filed a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, charging that the company used “defeat devices” to skirt emissions testing in more than 100,000 of their diesel vehicles.

The complaint is reminiscent of the Volkswagen scandal of 2015, when the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators found that the company used software products designed to pass emissions tests in hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

Tuesday’s complaint against Chrysler, filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA, charges that the company used a similar scheme.

“The complaint alleges that nearly 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles containing 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engines are equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices,” the agency said in a statement announcing the formal complaint. “The complaint alleges that the undisclosed software functions cause the vehicles’ emission control systems to perform differently, and less effectively, during certain normal driving conditions than on federal emission tests, resulting in increased emissions of harmful air pollutants.”

The vehicles in question include Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models from 2014 through 2016, the agency said.

Fiat Chrysler late last week said it will install new emissions control software on all of those models — a preemptive move has taken before Tuesday’s formal complaint.

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