Major American Automaker Fined $300M For Dieselgate 2.0

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Three employees have also been charged.

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) US, which now sits under the Stellantis Group, has been placed on three-year probation as of Monday. The group was also ordered to pay around $300 million in fines for cheating during emissions testing on 101,000 Ram 1500 trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs sold with the group's EcoDiesel engines.

FCA deceived regulators about emission systems on the EcoDiesel engines, discovered by the EPA back in 2017 and dubbed Dieselgate 2.0. More recently, EU authorities raided Suzuki and Stellantis offices for similar investigations. FCA and by association Stellantis were found guilty of using cheat devices, while the Suzuki investigation is ongoing.

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Three FCA employees will also face charges as part of the investigation. The sentence for Stellantis was part of a plea bargain made earlier when FCA plead guilty in June to conspiracy in a Detroit federal court.

In addition to the use of software and other emissions defeat devices, the FCA conglomerate's marketing strategy falsely claimed that EcoDiesels were less harmful to the planet. As of this year, Stellantis still uses the term to refer to its 3.0-liter engine in the 2023 Jeep Wrangler.

"Stopping violations of environmental laws and the defrauding of consumers is paramount to the protection of clean air and human health," said the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a statement.

It's difficult to tell where the scandal will end for Stellantis. Since our last coverage of the proceedings, the three employees discussed above have been charged. It is unclear what charges these employees may face, nor what role these employees played inthis new Dieselgate-like scandal. Additionally, it is not yet clear whether these charges will be criminal or civil.

In all likelihood, Stellantis and the three employees will face a mix. When convicted on similar charges, Volkswagen paid a $2.8 billion fine as a criminal penalty for its emissions cheating. It also paid $1.5 billion in civil damages. Notably, VW also had to buy back vehicles, though it is unclear if FCA will have to do the same.

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