The Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group, owned by Stellantis, has been indicted in France in connection with Dieselgate. This is the fifth manufacturer sued in France for this case.
And five! Tuesday July 13, Fiat-Chrysler was my in exam for suspicion of diesel vehicle pollution control fraud. This brings to five the number of manufacturers now prosecuted in France under Dieselgate.
Volkswagen, by whom the scandal happened in 2015, and Renault were indicted last June for « deception on the substantial qualities of a commodity endangering human or animal health ”. Peugeot and Citroën followed shortly thereafter for the same offenses.
For Fiat-Chrysler, the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) notes that “the operation of certain engine pollution control devices is modified so that the emissions of NOx (nitrogen oxides) are below the regulatory threshold”.
“Without this strategy (…) the vehicles concerned would therefore not have been able to be approved”, underlines the gendarme de Bercy, considering that these “practices (…) have deceived consumers“. The development of such software, “complex”, implies “a hierarchical chain of validation and (requires) coordination between several services”, according to him.
The Italian-American manufacturer, which belongs to the Stellantis group, was also placed under the status of assisted witness for “obstructing” the investigation, told AFP his lawyer, Me Alexis Gublin.
Placed under judicial supervision, the group is required to pay a guarantee of 150,000 euros and constitute a bank guarantee of 200,000 euros, he clarified.
Like the other builders involved before him, FCA refutes these accusations. “The company firmly believes that its emission control systems met all applicable requirements between September 1, 2014 and March 15, 2017, and continue to do so, and looks forward to the opportunity to demonstrate this”, reacted in a statement the Stellantis group.
In the meantime, these lawsuits pave the way for a possible trial, with a risk of fines of several billion euros for manufacturers. In its report, the DGGCRF mentioned, concerning Fiat-Chrysler, a “maximum fine” of 9.6 billion euros.
Owners of vehicles, whose value fell after the scandal was exposed, could then claim compensation.
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