The US Securities Exchange Commission and several states’ attorneys general have started investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over possible breaches of diesel vehicle emissions standards.
The information was disclosed in one of the company's SEC regulatory filings.
On 12 January 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board each issued a notice of violation alleging that FCA US failed to disclose various emissions control strategies in its application for certificates to permit the sale of model year 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles.
About 104,000 of these vehicles were sold in the United States, of which approximately 14,000 were sold in California.
According to the EPA, neglect in disclosing such software is a serious violation of law and FCA could be fined more than $44,000 for each vehicle. With more than 104,000 vehicles, the total amount could reach $4.6bn.
FCA stated that it is investigating these matters and intends to cooperate with all valid governmental requests and it says it is unable to predict the outcome of any proceeding investigation.
The investigation will focus on whether the software in the vehicles is justified or it is just another defeat device to overturn emissions rules is yet to be seen.
According to Reuters, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had earlier denied the allegations, saying there was no wrongdoing and the company did not attempt to create software to cheat emissions rules by identifying when the vehicle was in test mode.
Apart from the investigations in the US, the company is also facing several emissions compliance in Europe.
Recently, the French Consumer Protection Agency has requested the French public prosecutor to conduct investigation of whether FCA’s vehicles violated the French consumer protection laws.