U.S. engine maker FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobile) is facing the largest-ever Clean Air Act penalty for accusations of cheating on emissions tests. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, FCA is accused of using illegal engine software to mask emissions of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant regulated by the Clean Air Act.
If the accusations are found to be true, FCA will be forced to pay a penalty of more than $400 million in civil penalties and oversight, which includes making an additional investment of about $100 million to mitigate pollution, as well as retrofitting or replacing some of the over-polluted vehicles. The company has also been ordered to stop the sale of diesel engines until they reach an agreement with the EPA.
FCA has denied the accusations, saying that the allegations are “without merit” and “based on incomplete information and misunderstandings of the current regulations.” They have also pointed out that vehicle performance was not affected by the software, as well as denying that the software was designed to cheat emissions tests.
The company is also facing criminal charges in Germany, which claims that the company used illegal software to manipulate emissions tests in Europe. The company has denied the accusations and is currently in the process of refitting vehicles to comply with European regulations.
This is not the first time that FCA has been accused of cheating on emissions tests, with the company previously getting caught up in the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015. In response, FCA said that they have “taken significant steps to improve our environmental performance and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.”
Ultimately, the fate of FCA will ultimately depend on the outcome of the investigations conducted by the EPA and German authorities. If found guilty, FCA could be forced to pay a hefty fine that could potentially have lasting impacts on the company.