Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

USA preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler over excess diesel emissions

USA preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler over excess diesel emissions

The Commission took action due to Italy failing to convince it that devices FCA had been using to modulate emissions outside of narrow testing conditions were legally sound and worthy of government approval.

The original complaint came from Germany which along with the Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain and Britain has been accused of failing to police the vehicle industry adequately after the VW "dieselgate" scandal.

The case regards use of defeat devices, which can lead to higher NOx emissions outside the test cycle. Producers argue an exemption from the rules that allows them to turn off emission control systems for safety or engine health.

The move came despite the Italian government issuing a last-minute call on Wednesday for the European Commission to postpone the start of legal action against Italy over suspected emissions-cheating practices at Fiat-Chrysler. Despite the accusations leveled against its own carmakers, Germany has accused Fiat Chrysler of using an illegal device to scale back emission controls after 22 minutes - just longer than official tests.

After Italy rejected Germany's allegations of hidden software on the Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep Renegade models, Berlin asked Brussels to mediate in the dispute.

In March, the commission closed the mediation process, but without determining definitively whether the vehicle contained an illegal defeat device or not.

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Italy has 2 months to reply to the Commission's demand and might be ultimately taken to the European Court of Justice if the response is found to be unconvincing.

Day-to-day regulation of the auto sector, including approving new vehicle models for the road, remains under the authority of national governments.

The current regulations allow governments in European Union member nations to approve new vehicles that could then be sold throughout the EU.

Italy follows Germany, Britain and five other member states challenged by the Commission in December for turning a blind eye to emissions cheating.

The European Parliament approved tougher rules for the approval of new cars aimed at avoiding a repeat of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal but rejected amendments calling for a new, centralised EU road agency to oversee emissions testing.

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