Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and CNH Industrial offices were searched on Wednesday in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland as part of an investigation initiated by German prosecutors probing emissions fraud.
Engines used by Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep vehicles and also in CNH Industrial’s Iveco trucks have been discovered to contain potentially illegal engine management software to evade excessive pollution levels, Frankfurt prosecutors said.
The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office stopped short of mentioning Alfa Romeo and Fiat’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler, since under German law only individuals, not firms, can be prosecuted.
The investigation targets nine persons working at an “international carmaker” and seeks to establish their role in putting vehicles equipped with potentially illegal emissions software on public roads the prosecutor’s office stated.
A representative for FCA said that a number of the group’s offices in Europe were visited by investigators in the context of a request for assistance by magistrates in Germany, adding that it was cooperating entirely with officials.
In a similar emailed statement according to Reuters, CNH Industrial confirmed that a number of its offices in Europe have been visited by investigators Following a request by German magistrates and that it was cooperating entirely with officials.
FCA and CNH Industrial are both owned by Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family.
Potentially illegal software has been detected in the 1.3 liter Multijet and 1.6 liter Multijet engines utilized in Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Fiat engines and also in commercial diesel engines used in Iveco and Fiat commercial vehicles, the prosecutors stated.
Although these vehicles passed pollution tests in a laboratory, the cars used software to mainly switch off exhaust emissions filtering while driving on the road, they said.
The investigation, which is coordinated by EU justice agency EUROJUST, is concentraating on nine persons residing in Italy and their activities between 2014 to 2019, they said.