Civil Lawsuit

US sets eyes on Fiat Chrysler in Dieselgate scandal

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Fiat denies the allegations and plans to defend itself "vigorously." Picture source: DPA

Germany’s Volkswagen appears to not be the only car producer that employed illegal software to manipulate emissions results in its diesel cars. The US Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a civil lawsuit against the Italian-controlled Fiat Chrysler group over bypassing emissions tests in 104,000 vehicles since 2014.

The company’s share price dropped more than 4 percent on the news, as investors fear the company might face an equally costly settlement as Volkswagen. The German carmaker admitted to cheating and to date has agreed to pay a total of $25 billion to settle the claims. The revelations at VW in September 2015 had prompted US regulators to review emissions levels of all other diesel passenger cars.

Fiat Chrysler denies any wrongdoing and in a statement on Tuesday said it was “disappointed” over the DOJ’s lawsuit. The firm said it had collaborated with the US Environmental Protection Agency for months to clear up the allegations and now intends to “defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests.”

The lawsuit is the latest step in a series of investigations by regulators across the globe into diesel cheating at various carmakers. The European Commission last week launched proceedings into the Italian government and Fiat Chrysler for willfully ignoring cheat devices in its diesel cars.

German prosecutors on Tuesday raided offices at German carmaker Daimler, looking for clues to possible emissions manipulations.

The lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler asks for the company to fix affected vehicles and stop the sale of cars with excess emissions. The carmaker is faced with a separate criminal lawsuit over its diesel cheating allegations, filed by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and many US states.

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