This could cost it up to $300 million.
Volkswagen was not the only automaker to be entangled in the diesel emissions scandal. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now part of Stellantis following a merger with France's PSA Groupe, has been under investigation by the US Justice Department since 2015 for allegedly evading emissions requirements on thousands of diesel-powered trucks and SUVs. They'll soon pay a steep price for their illegal actions.
Reuters reports the Detroit-based automaker is close to an agreement with the feds to plead guilty to criminal conduct that will ultimately conclude a year's long emissions probe. The focus was on an estimated 100,000 examples of the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 oil burner. All were 2014-2016 models. The automaker could end up paying between $250 million and $300 million in penalties.
Justice Department officials are reportedly finalizing the plea deal paperwork right now. Despite the legal havoc and environmental issues, the VW and FCA diesel investigations have since helped spark the EV revolution. Every major automaker is now planning for all-electric futures. Internal combustion engines are being gradually phased out. FCA and the government's plea deal, however, does not mean things will be fully settled.
Last April, the Justice Department charged two FCA employees for their part in the emissions fraud scandal. Another previously charged employee will go on trial next year over charges of misleading regulators about vehicle pollution. This individual supposedly continued to deceive authorities after VW's cheating was exposed.
FCA has already resolved civil allegations though it denied it purposely tried to cheat emissions testing. If you think FCA's expected financial penalty is too much money, then think again. A few years ago, VW agreed to a $2.8 billion settlement as part of its own criminal case. Billions more were paid as part of civil allegations and lawsuits from owners and US state officials.
FCA has been negotiating a deal that would see it not plead guilty but rather get a deferred prosecution agreement. This would mean FCA is criminally charged and agree to be monitored by government-appointed officials instead of pleading guilty. The charges will be dismissed at a later date only if the carmaker fully abides by the deal.