The suit alleges that Fiat Chrysler created “defeat device” software for emissions testing on more than 100,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. Such devices are designed to “reduce the effectiveness” of emissions control systems under normal driving conditions, according to the lawsuit.
Fiat Chrysler faces 4 counts that could result in billions of dollars in penalties.
“The complaint alleges that FCA equipped nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) sold in the United States with at least eight software-based features that were not disclosed in FCA’s applications for certificates of conformity and that affect the vehicles’ emission control systems,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement. “The undisclosed software features lessen the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems during certain normal driving situations.”
As a result of the emissions cheat software, affected vehicles emit unsafe levels of pollution that “contribute to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death,” according to the lawsuit.
The complaint marks the second time the U.S. Justice Department has sued an automaker alleging use of software on diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution on the road than during EPA lab testing.
Last year, the government accused Volkswagen of cheating on emissions tests, with the company eventually pleading guilty to criminal charges in a scandal that cost VW more than $20 billion in the U.S. alone.
Source: CBS News