Judge authorizes Fiat Chrysler diesel emissions settlement in the US

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

A federal judge in San Francisco on Friday authorized a $307.5 million civil settlement for about 100,000 U.S. owners of Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles that the government stated had illegal software that enabled them to emit excess emissions.

Under the settlement authorized by Judge Edward Chen, about 100,000 owners and lessees of Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0-liter diesel automobiles from model years 2014 to 2016 will get payments for having a software reflash completed. Majority of owners will get $3,075 payments.

Present owners and lease-holders have until February 2021 to submit a claim, and until May 2021 to finish the repair and get compensation, while former owners have until August to submit a claim.

The Italian-American automaker on January 10 declared it had settled with the U.S. Justice Department, the state of California and diesel owners over civil claims that it utilized illegal software that produced misleading results on diesel-emissions tests. A criminal investigation is still going on.

Chen also authorized the consent decrees declared in January between Fiat Chrysler and California, Environmental Protection Agency and agreements with all of the 50 states.

Under the agreement, Fiat Chrysler agreed to inform an independent auditor of the status of different initiatives. Fiat Chrysler stated on Friday it has introduced three-quarters of the initiatives and one-third are already complete.

Fiat Chrysler estimated the overall value of the various settlements at about $800 million.

Robert Bosch GmbH, which provided emissions control software for the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, accept to pay $27.5 million to deal with claims from diesel owners, while Fiat Chrysler is paying $280 million of the $307.5 million.

Fiat Chrysler is further paying $311 million in overall civil penalties to U.S. and California regulators, granting extended warranties worth $105 million. Fiat Chrysler is paying $72.5 million as well for state civil penalties and $33.5 million to California to offset excess emissions and consumer claims.

Fiat Chrysler and Bosch also agreed on paying $66 million to the lawyers representing the automobile owners.

The hefty penalty was the recent fallout from the U.S. government’s stepped-up enforcement of vehicle emissions regulations after Volkswagen AG admitted in September 2015 to intentionally avoiding emissions rules.

Regulators stated Fiat Chrysler used “defeat devices” to evade emissions tests in real-world driving. Fiat Chrysler did not admit liability.

U.S. regulators are also investigating Ford Motor’s emissions certification process and emissions concerns about some Daimler’s vehicles.

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