Fiat Chrysler, Bosch to pay $171 million in illegal emissions settlement

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 124 views 

Arkansas is expected to receive more than $1.5 million in a settlement with vehicle manufacturer Fiat Chrysler and auto supplier Bosch over illegal diesel emissions.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Thursday (Jan. 17) she had reached two settlements in the form of consent judgments that require Fiat Chrysler and Bosch to pay a total of $171.2 million nationwide for their roles in selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.

“Fiat Chrysler is being held accountable for cheating on emissions testing, and Bosch is answering for its role in providing the software,” Rutledge said. “I will continue to hold automobile makers and their suppliers accountable for wrongful and deceptive conduct.”

After nearly two years of investigating, Rutledge along with 51 jurisdictions nationwide, sued Fiat Chrysler and its subsidiaries, for having installed illegal defeat device software and undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices in several models of its diesel vehicles. Fiat Chrysler cheated on federal and state emissions tests by calibrating the software to conceal that vehicles emitted higher than permitted levels of harmful nitrogen oxides in real-world driving conditions and misled consumers by falsely claiming some vehicles were environmentally friendly, according to the findings.

After a separate but related investigation, Rutledge and 49 other jurisdictions sued Bosch, the engineering company that supplies Fiat Chrysler and other automakers with electronic control units housing the complex software that controls nearly all aspects of an engine’s performance, including emissions systems. Bosch allowed for the implementation of the defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles over more than 10 years, the findings show.

Fiat Chrysler will pay $72.5 million to the litigating jurisdictions for consumer and environmental violations, with Arkansas receiving $763,750. Bosch will pay $98.7 million, with $737,100 going to Arkansas.

The settlement requires Fiat Chrysler to remove the defeat device features using a software “flash fix,” provide eligible owners and lessors extended warranties; and along with Bosch, pay eligible owners who take their vehicle to an authorized dealer for the software repair an average restitution payment of $2,908 and lessees and former owners who do so restitution of $990. Also, Fiat Chrysler is not allowed to engage in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices related to its dealings with consumers.

Bosch also agreed to injunctive terms and to maintain robust processes to monitor compliance and must refuse to accommodate requests for software development and programming that could lead to the installation of defeat device software.

Rutledge reached a settlement with Volkswagen in 2016 on similar allegations. The German automaker had agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers.

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