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Fiat Chrysler will pay $800 million to settle diesel emissions lawsuits

Roadshow logo Roadshow 1/10/2019 Andrew Krok
a sign on the side of a building: $800 million is far below what VW paid as restitution for Dieselgate. VW's tally is past $25 billion in the US alone. © CNET

$800 million is far below what VW paid as restitution for Dieselgate. VW's tally is past $25 billion in the US alone.

While it may not have carried the cachet of Dieselgate, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was mired in its own diesel scandal, and a settlement has finally been reached in its court cases.

Fiat Chrysler announced Thursday that it has reached final settlements with both US regulators and private class-action lawsuits regarding allegations of excessive diesel vehicle emissions. According to the automaker, it will pay approximately $800 million to remedy all these claims.

The first $400 million will cover civil penalties: $305 million goes to the EPA, Justice Department and the California Air Resources Board; $13.5 million is destined for the California Attorney General; $72.5 million goes to AGs in other states; and $6 million will go to Customs and Border Protection.

The other $400 million will be split between consumers and remedy methods. First, FCA will recall approximately 100,000 examples of the 2014-2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. They will have their software updated free of charge, and FCA says it won't affect fuel economy or drivability. Current and former owners and lessees are also eligible to receive a payment averaging $2,800. In addition, all the vehicles being recalled will receive extended warranties. Fiat Chrysler has two years to repair 85 percent of the vehicles being recalled, and it will face more penalties if it fails to do so.

FCA still believes it did nothing wrong. "The settlements do not change the Company's position that it did not engage in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat emissions tests," the automaker said in a statement. "Further, the consent decree and settlement agreements contain no finding or admission with regard to any alleged violations of vehicle emissions rules."

The Justice Department filed a suit against Fiat Chrysler in 2017, alleging that it used illegal software to skirt emissions regulations, akin to what VW did that led to Dieselgate. 

Diesel cars: Do you enjoy stories about companies giving up billions in settlements?

Electric cars: Perhaps you like looking to the future instead.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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