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Fiat Under Investigation by US
Fiat Chrysler Auto-mobiles is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The EPA (Environmental protection agency) found software in 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s that allowed violated emissions standards. Fiat Chrysler used technology from Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH, which is also under investigation for its role in providing software to Volkswagen.
The devices in question alters the way in which the Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) control system operates, resulting in increased NOx emissions. The presence of NOx gas in the air causes ozone to form, which is dangerous for health.
Pollutants such as NOx cause and increase severity of a variety of health issues, including asthma and cardio-pulmonary diseases and more. In California about 10 million people live in a zone where ozone levels are considered dangerous.
The notice against FCA came only one day after the Justice Department announced that Volkswagen AG (VW) agreed to plead guilty to cheating on emission tests and pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties.
The U.S. investigation of Fiat Chrysler involves fewer vehicles than VW.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne called the allegations “absolute nonsense.”
According to the EPA, Fca may be subject to administrative penalties and injunctions in relation to the violations of which it is accused. The agency is testing if the undeclared emissions control devices are illegal defeat devices. The violation of which EPA accuses the Fca is therefore - at least for now - of an administrative nature and therefore not comparable to the so-called "defeat devices" used on Volkswagen diesel engines in order to pass emission tests.
The presence of high NOx values even in completely normal conditions of use has been reported in many cars, not only those of Fiat, due to the broad interpretation of European rules that allow to neutralize anti-pollution devices to protect the engine. These limit exceeds have been tolerated in Europe by the governments of major countries, in very limited circumstances, such as driving conditions so extreme that the engine could be damaged. For example, In these circumstances, when a fully loaded truck faces a steep climb, or in exceptional climatic conditions.