When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles regails the class with a “how I spend my summer” story this fall, expect some mention of handing over large sums of money to state and federal governments.
The U.S. Department of Justice and California Air Resources Board want the automaker to make things right after accusing it of polluting the nation’s air via its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engines. Some 104,000 Jeep and Ram vehicles from the 2014 to 2016 model years contained emissions control devices not revealed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which came down hard on the automaker after their discovery. According to FCA’s lawyer, the settlement could come this summer.
What does the DOJ want? According to an earlier settlement offer sent to the automaker, the levelling of “very substantial civil penalties” is the only way to ensure FCA learns its lesson.
At a federal court hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday, FCA lawyerÂ Robert Giuffra said settlement documents were being exchanged between lawyers of both parties. Expect a settlement between FCA and the DOJ â€œprobably sometime during the summer,” he told Reuters.
Talks between the two parties are reportedly progressing at a “swift pace.” That’s the way court-appointed advisorÂ Ken Feinberg describes it, anyway.
So far, neither the DOJ or CARB have mentioned just how much penalty cash FCA might be on the hook for. While the vehicles in question await a fix designed to bring the engines into compliance, any civil payout would have to be accompanied by environmental mitigation efforts â€” no unlike those seen in the Volkswagen diesel settlement. Just fixing the older vehicles and ensuring new ones remain clean will not be enough. (The EPA gave 2017 Ram and Jeep EcoDiesels the green light back in July.)
FCA never admitted to any wrongdoing in the EcoDiesel saga.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]