US environmental regulators today filed a lawsuit against automaker Fiat Chrysler, accusing the company of installing devices on its cars that hid harmful emissions during testing. The company kept the software’s existence from regulators during the certification process for 104,000 3.0-liter light- duty diesel vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which filed the charges in federal court in Michigan.
The fresh legal actions come the same month that Germany’s Volkswagen closed the last major US chapter of its own “dieselgate” saga, which in North America has cost that company USD 22 billion in settlements and compensation.
The Italian automaker said it was “disappointed” in the lawsuit and “intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat US emissions tests.”
The EPA first made the cheating charge in January, which concerns 104,000 Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years.
That is far fewer vehicles than those in the Volkswagen scandal, but the complaint is similar as the devices allowed the vehicles to emit more than the permissible levels of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog and soot, according to the EPA.