Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) Stock Plummets On Emissions Cheating Probe

USA environmental regulators accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of using software that allowed illegal emissions in diesel-powered vehicles, the latest broadside in an unprecedented government crackdown on auto makers for alleged pollution transgressions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accuse Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of cheating on its diesel emissions software to get better fuel economy for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup and other vehicles, according to several media reports.

EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles saying emissions software on those vehicles were not disclosed. "We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices". The alleged scheme was brought to light after the EPA expanded its vehicle testing to look for so-called defeat devices in September 2015 following a similar scandal at Volkswagen.

Fiat Chrysler's shares fell more than 16 percent after the news was announced to $9.29. The company said it plans to demonstrate to the EPA that its emissions controls tools are "properly justified" and not defeat devices. Investigations into Fiat Chrysler's violations are continuing, the release said. Six company executives have been indicted with federal crimes, including violating the Clean Air Act. The agency, along with the California Air Resources Board, apparently told Fiat Chrysler that it believed its undeclared auxiliary emissions control software allowed the vehicles to generate more pollution than was allowed by the law, making the vehicles in violation.

"FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction", the company said.

At least two other lawsuits allege that diesel-powered heavy-duty pickups made by the automaker used defeat devices meant to cheat emissions testing. The agency said it's still investigating whether these devices constitute illegal "defeat devices". The Justice Department is reportedly working with the EPA on this issue.

The allegations harken back to the Volkswagen emissions scandal that affected some 600,000 US vehicles that were imported by the German automaker.

Volkswagen's case clearly showed that the only way to keep reducing emission with diesel engines is to cheat the results and therefore, a new technology needs to be implemented in order to truly reduce vehicle emissions. "CARB and the EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration".

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