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Fiat Chrysler and U.S. Justice Department in settlement talks

April 13, 2018 0 Comments

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is in “advanced settlement talks” with the U.S. Justice Department and the California Air Resources Board in the wake of accusations of illegally using software that led to excess emissions in 104,000 diesel vehicles sold since 2014, said court-appointed adviser Ken Feinberg.

At a federal court hearing in San Francisco, Feinberg said that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler exchanged and “redlined” documents following lengthy talks that are moving “at a rather swift pace.”

Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for Fiat Chrysler, said the automaker and government lawyers were exchanging settlement document drafts, and that he expected a settlement to be reached “sometime during the summer.”

The Justice Department sent Fiat Chrysler lawyers a settlement offer on January 27 requiring the automaker to offset the excess pollution and take steps to prevent future excess emissions, according to Reuters. The letter said the settlement must include “very substantial civil penalties.”

Lawyers in court didn’t disclose any potential fine amounts that state and federal governments would want as part of the settlement. Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair, declined to discuss potential civil penalty amounts on Monday.

The parties are already engaged in “lengthy” settlement talks, and three more rounds are planned later in April and in May. According to lawyers, a settlement could be reached this summer.

Both Fiat Chrysler and the Justice Department discussed consumer-related provisions that could be part of an eventual settlement, such as warranty and recall provisions.

In July 2017, Fiat Chrysler won approval from federal and California regulators to sell the 2017 model year diesel vehicles after a suit by the Justice Department for excess emissions in May.

The automaker is confident it can used updated emissions software in 2017 model year vehicles to fix any lingering concerns, and hopes to finish up the proposed fix testing by the end of June this year.

According to regulators, Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles had “undisclosed emissions controls” allowing the vehicles to emit excess pollution during driving.

Fiat Chrysler denied any wrongdoing and said there was no attempt to create emissions-cheating software. The Justice Department currently has a separate and ongoing criminal investigation into excess emissions.

A hearing has been set by U.S. Judge Edward Chen for June 1 for the next update on the talks.

Filed in: OEM

About the Author:

Dave Martinson is a broadcast journalist for DrivingSalesNews. He has a background as a TV News Reporter, Anchor and Producer. He has also worked in Digital Marketing and Human Resources. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Brigham Young University – Idaho. He’s married and originally from the state of Washington. He’s a huge football fan and enjoys the outdoors.