The U.S. Justice Department prepares to submit a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over excess diesel emissions as early as this week if no arrangement is reached with the Italian-American car manufacturer, 2 sources briefed on the matter stated on Wednesday.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January alleged FCA of illegally utilizing concealed software to allow excess diesel emissions in about 104,000 automobiles, the outcome of a probe that came from regulators’ examination of competing Volkswagen.
The EPA and California Air Resources Board have remained in talks with FCA about the excess emissions and whether the companies would authorize the sale of 2017 FCA diesel models.
Federal judge in California has set a May 24 hearing on a range of lawsuits submitted by owners of vehicles against Fiat Chrysler and the Justice Department is expected to submit its action already if no agreement is reached.
FCA stated on Wednesday it believed that any lawsuits would be “counterproductive” to continuous conversations with the EPA and California Air Resources Board.
The company added that “in the case of any lawsuits, FCA United States will safeguard itself vigorously, especially against any claims that the business intentionally set up defeat gadgets to cheat U.S. emissions tests.”
The Justice Department took the exact same procedural step in early 2016 versus Volkswagen, almost 4 months after the German automaker confessed utilizing software to release excess diesel emissions in almost 500,000 automobiles.
The Justice Department has had a continuous criminal investigation into FCA’s conduct since in 2016. The investigation has shown up internal e-mails written in Italian and other files about engine development and emissions concerns, sources informed on the probe stated.