Fiat Chrysler To Pay Up to $800 Million To Settle Diesel Emissions Cheating Allegations [Updated]

The company says its software met legal requirements

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. [Photo: FCA]

The settlement caps off investigations which began in January 2017.

Fiat Chrysler will have to pay up to $800 million to settle allegations that it cheated regulations with its emissions control software, according to a recent Associated Press (AP) report. The total includes paying up to $400 million in fines to the federal government and California regulators, as well as $280 million in compensation to owners. Between 2014 and 2016, federal investigations allege FCA built 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesels with software that ran pollution controls during emissions tests that would deactivate under certain conditions on the road. In total, the government narrowed down eight “software-based features” on its 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel models that FCA failed to disclose to the EPA.

FCA denies any wrongdoing

Unlike Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, where the company plead guilty to criminal charges, this is a civil settlement. As part of the deal, FCA does not admit any wrongdoing, but will have to pay affected vehicle owners about $3,075 each. Finally, the company will also have to pay $72 million to settle outstanding claims made by individual states, according to an anonymous who spoke to the Associated Press. FCA contended during the proceedings that it didn’t install emissions defeat software with the intent to cheat on tests. Rather, the company claimed its software deactivated the pollution control system under extreme circumstances, like climbing mountains, to prevent engine damage, federal regulations allow.

The federal lawsuit brought against FCA originally sought $4 billion in damages. On top of that, it aimed for a judgment that would prevent FCA from building or selling vehicles with undisclosed software in the future. This news comes at a time where Fiat Chrysler aims to bring their 3.0-liter EcoDiesel back in the 2019 Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler JL and the upcoming 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Million To Settle Diesel Emissions Cheating Allegations, Without Admitting Wrongdoing
To the best of our knowledge, Jeep will still introduce the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to the Jeep Wrangler JL and upcoming Gladiator. [Photo: FCA]

TFLtruck’s tests regarding the Ram EcoDiesel

TFLtruck tested 2015 and 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel trucks on the Ike Gauntlet and in highway towing MPG loops before the trucks were recalled under the emissions scandal in 2017. In January 2017, we tested a 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at a Colorado emissions station, and it passed with no issues. The situation made the results TFLtruck originally published inadmissible in the competition, and we’ve since removed the 2015 and 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel from our Ike Gauntlet and highway towing leaderboards.

Even though the settlement was pending, FCA was allowed to sell Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesels after recalibration. Last year, we learned that 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels were popping up on dealer lots again.

Update 1/10/18: Updated figures on owner compensation, total fines.