Fiat Chrysler to pay customers, governments for cheating emissions tests

Fiat Chrysler to pay about $800 million to settle emissions-cheating cases

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has agreed to a settlement worth about $800 million USA to resolve claims from the U.S. Justice Department and state of California that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests, according to court filings on Thursday.

The settlement includes fines and more than $300 million in "consumer relief" and requires Fiat Chrysler to establish a recall program offering motorists an approved plan for modification their emissions systems.

United States officials said FCA's EcoDiesel Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee for model years 2014-2016 were built with software created to operate differently during emissions tests compared with real-world conditions.

Under the deal, the company will also need to pay about $280 million to compensate vehicle owners - resulting in payouts of about $2,800 per owner - as well as another $72 million to settle claims made by other states, the person said. FCA also will pay another $400 million in total to the EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), CARB, all 50 states, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Roughly 100,000 vehicles are affected; of those, more than 13,000 are in California.

FCA has agreed to pay almost $400 million in civil penalties, including $305 million to the EPA, the Department of Justice, and CARB; $6 million to Customs and Border Protection; and $72.5 million to various state attorneys general.

The Fiat Chrysler settlement won't include a determination that the company committed wrongdoing, a second person familiar with the matter said. "Fiat Chrysler's conduct was serious and egregious". Fiat Chrysler has two years to fix 85 percent of the vehicles being recalled, and it will face more penalties if it fails to do so.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra added, "The company not only violated the law and our trust, but did so at the expense of our environment". VW's tally is past $25 billion in the U.S. alone.

California Attorney Xavier Becerra said the automaker "tried to evade these standards by installing software to cheat emissions testing". He declined to comment when asked about the status of the investigation.

"Fiat Chrysler deceived consumers and the federal government by installing defeat devices on these vehicles that undermined important clean air protections", EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a prepared statement Thursday.

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