Government, FCA Move Closer to Diesel Emissions Resolution

16ram_1500-ecodiesel_ac_04jpg_24150774892_o II

By Tim Esterdahl

The ongoing litigation between the Department of Justice and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles regarding alleged EcoDiesel emissions violations moved another step forward to resolution after the government sent a letter to FCA with its list of settlement demands. The DOJ wants FCA to recall an estimated 104,000 vehicles and pay substantial civil fines.

In the Jan. 27 letter, the DOJ said the settlement "must include very substantial civil penalties" and these penalties must "adequately reflect the seriousness of the conduct that led to these violations" according to a Bloomberg News story quoting directly from the letter.

The Justice Department also expects FCA to make changes to its internal policies to prevent future violations. The settlement doesn't include an end to criminal investigation of FCA, according to Bloomberg.

An FCA spokesman confirmed a letter was sent, but declined to comment further. This ongoing issue affects model-year 2014-16 Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine. FCA was not allowed to sell model-year 2017 versions of the vehicles until a fix was developed and approved. That approval was granted in July 2017 for model-year 2017 and 2018 EcoDiesel engines. Now that the newer models are certified, fixing the older models should be relatively straightforward.

If FCA agrees to the terms spelled out in the letter, the resultant recall could be as simple as a reflash of the vehicle's computer. Fines are likely whenever the EPA discovers emissions violations; how substantial fines related to this issue will be remains to be seen.

Just last year, the EPA settled an emissions suit with Volkswagen for a record $2.8 billion in criminal fines and $14.7 billion in civil fines. Hyundai and Kia paid $100 million for misstating fuel economy numbers in 2014.

Even though FCA denies any intentional wrongdoing, the letter quotes FCA as acknowledging the settlement must include civil penalties, an emissions fix and other environmental mitigation efforts such as low- or zero-emissions "mobility projects."

The Justice Department says it will take those projects under consideration; however, they are not the same as civil penalties.

All of this stems from a complaint filed on May 23, 2017, by the EPA. In that complaint, the EPA alleged FCA used illegal software that allowed the engines to pass laboratory emissions tests even though they exceeded pollution standards on the road, thereby violating the Clean Air Act. The EPA accused FCA of not disclosing the software and claimed it amounts to "defeat devices" in the FCA pickups and SUVs.

Cars.com images by Evan Sears

 

Ram ED engine II

 

Comments

What the F are low and zero emission “mobility projects” and under what legal authority can the DOJ force an automaker to do them as a punishment for something else? The federal government is out of control.

@BD

ditto!

As long as people keep putting liberal Repubicans (and all Dems) into the House and Senate, we will keep getting this sort of crap from Washington.

The brilliant men who wrote the US Constitution described our Congress and its staff as "servants" not rulers. Boy has that ever gotten out of whack!

Let the consumers decide if they want to punish FCA for the products they make---not some dipsh*t committee staffer in Congress.

You know re-runs of the show Cheaters is still on the tele...

The federal government is resembling British tyranny!

Nowhere that I've found, has anyone stated that FCA Ecodiesel vehicles actually pollute in excess of the standard. The only thing the EPA has been able to assess is that a different software version was flashed into the affected vehicles. No one seems to be able to state how it adversely impacts emissions. With the EPA and DOJ still running amok, I'm shocked that Ford and GM are even going ahead with getting into the segment.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time

When you say Crap you loose all credibility. You sound like a child.

So they did cheat, they didn't cheat, they are at fault but not really, theres a fix but its easy, theres a fine and penalty but no fault... A whole lotta round and round on this one.

So they did cheat, they didn't cheat, they are at fault but not really, theres a fix but its easy, theres a fine and penalty but no fault... A whole lotta round and round on this one.

Did FCA cheat? The answer is no.
So what's the fine for then? Using a different software than what they had stated to the EPA. It's called being out of compliance.
It's not that difficult, just tedious getting the information out..
For sure there are some who were hoping for a cheating scandal ala VW, sorry you are all disappointed.
I hope all goes well for GM & Ford in their examination of their diesel program.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time
Posted by: Jeff S | Feb 15, 2018

The Jeff from down under

just ban diesels in all pickup trucks
they are useless anyhow
why would anybody need a diesel when the F-150 Eco-Boost has the power and torque as a diesel?

In the meantime, diesel fuel is running higher than Premium unleaded in the Fremont, San Jose, CA area. Five years ago, I was preaching, to whomever would listen, that diesel this time was going to break out and become the engine of choice, and it was running neck and neck and sometimes lower than Regular unleaded. I sure was proved wrong. It feels like we've taken a step back, but I'm trying to stay positive. Spark plug, rotor, and wire manufacturers probably sure are happy.
Lot's of talk about diesel engines in aircraft too, but for that to be noticeable, I'm projecting 10yrs and more now based on this experience.

just ban diesels in all pickup trucks
they are useless anyhow
why would anybody need a diesel when the F-150 Eco-Boost has the power and torque as a diesel?

Posted by: Ecoboost Rules | Feb 15, 2018 2:24:22 PM

Not sure if you are serious here, or just having fun???
If your serious then I feel bad for you.!!!

When I see a diesel pickup all clean and shinny, no load, nothing being towed, I see a person behind the wheel with insecurity and tiny balls who is terrible with his money

If you make comments like some here about who cares or its none of the government's business if FCA pollutes more than a legislated amount then you probably wouldn't mind having an exhaust tube pumping your exhaust from your butts to your lungs. Only an idiot doesn't accept the fact or consequences of global warming.

They the EPA still investigatiing other " criminal actions"by FCA. Interesting to see the penalties they impose. Yes there was cheating but on the scale of vW.
Mitsubishi came undone becausrcit cheated on Gas engines so itis not just diesel and it was not the EPA handing out the massive fines.

That should have been NOT on the scale of VW

tiny balls?

@Ecoboost Rules

Pray. Ask to be reconciled.

just ban diesels in all pickup trucks
they are useless anyhow
why would anybody need a diesel when the F-150 Eco-Boost has the power and torque as a diesel?

Posted by: Ecoboost Rules | Feb 15, 2018 2:24:22 PM

The diesel doesn't have to work as hard to tow or do work. My Ecoboost sucks so much fuel when doing work it isn't worth having ,unless you do just light work with it. I will be getting a Diesel soon, most likely a Canyon Duramax efficient while towing, easy to get in and out of while doing daily chores and 30+ mpg average fuel economy.

An Ecoboost will never match the power and reliability of a diesel. My ecoboost was constantly getting fixed in the 4 years I owned it. The first engine threw a rod in Tucson. The replacement engine ate a timing chain 2 years later and constantly had misfires the dealer said were normal or blamed the fuel for it. I would never buy a used Ecoboost either. For al you know, the reason it got traded in is because the previous owner got sick of fixing it like I did. Junk engines.

Did FCA cheat? The answer is no.
So what's the fine for then? Using a different software than what they had stated to the EPA. It's called being out of compliance.
It's not that difficult, just tedious getting the information out..
For sure there are some who were hoping for a cheating scandal ala VW, sorry you are all disappointed.
I hope all goes well for GM & Ford in their examination of their diesel program.


Posted by: Ramtastic | Feb 15, 2018 1:51:43 PM

--------

I think GM and Ford waited it out to see if the market wanted it, while it does make me wonder if they knew something about the software systems being implemented on these motors. Didn't GM have a stake in VM Motori and sell it off a number of years ago?

As to whether FCA cheated?

The easy answer to that question will be told when the 17-18 real world fuel economy number show a decrease from their predecessors. Or if they reflash the old motors, do owners complain about poor fuel economy after the reflash.

If either of those scenarios play out then yes they cheated. I've already seen some forum posts saying they could get 30 mpg with the truck, had a repair at the dealer that also reflashed the engine, and now can't get better than 26.

On a side note,

A lot of talk from owners about the amount of repairs on these things already. Not good.

"Nowhere that I've found, has anyone stated that FCA Ecodiesel vehicles actually pollute in excess of the standard. The only thing the EPA has been able to assess is that a different software version was flashed into the affected vehicles. No one seems to be able to state how it adversely impacts emissions. With the EPA and DOJ still running amok, I'm shocked that Ford and GM are even going ahead with getting into the segment."
---- Posted by: Mr Knowitall | Feb 15, 2018 10:35:50 AM


You apparently haven't been paying attention then. The same university that blew the whistle on VW is the one that blew the whistle on FCA. They used actual tailpipe sensors while the vehicle was on the road on whatever 'test course' they use to perform their "real world" testing.

Now, as I understand it there are certain times when such pollution controls do need to be turned off to prevent damage to the engine while operating. I believe this is especially true when the engine is cold or when the engine is under a specific load scenario. No, I do not know the details. However, the university tests came across to me as incompletely researched, emphasizing the pollutant levels under the specific circumstances where the engine needed protection, meaning they chose to exaggerate their reports by ignoring the legal waivers.

Whether this is true or not, I can't say. But it seems to me that this one school may have defrauded both VW and FCA to some extent. It is clear they tried to paint FCA with the same brush they used on VW but it also seems clear that it didn't stick nearly so well. I question the neutrality of their reports since they only seem to have blown the whistle on European brands, ignoring or giving the pass to every other regional brand.

'FCA used illegal software'

reading comprehension.

Diesel fuel is easier to refine and more efficient since it has more energy per gallon.

It is also cleaner. This whole idea that diesel needs special treatment for the exhaust is one big mistake.

The new direct injection gasoline motors are far more poisonous than diesels.

So, a sane and science based government would have no differences in their policies for diesels as they would for gasoline engines.

@Vulpine- Diesel vehicle emissions is what I've done for a living for the last 15 years. The so called "real world testing" and compliance to the EPA standard are two different things. Software that detects operation on a chassis dyno is not in itself indication that the system is "cheating".

It's no wonder why Toyota doesn't want to get involved in diesel here.



Post a Comment

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
  • Your email will not be shown.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Home | Buy or Sell a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2017 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us