Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to update software to resolve emissions concerns of US regulators

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) NV said yesterday it plans to update software to resolve the concerns of US regulators about 104,000 older diesel cars with higher emissions, the Italian-American automaker said yesterday.

The company added that it had formally sought approval for the sale of two 2017 diesel models after months of talks and testing.

The company said it will start rolling out the update after approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board.

According to FCA, no impact on performance or fuel efficiency was expected.

California said in a statement it "is continuing its discussions with FCA to fully address and resolve the issues" it raised.

In January, the company had been accused by the EPA and California of illegally using undisclosed software to allow excess diesel emissions in 104,00 of its 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks inThe US.

According to a Reuters report, the justice department was preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the automaker for selling 104,000 vehicles that emitted excess diesel emissions if it did not reach an agreement with the company.

Fiat Chrysler said yesterday it believed "these actions should help facilitate a prompt resolution to ongoing discussions with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice and other governmental agencies."

Even as FCA continues to dispute the accusations from federal regulators, it warned its shareholders in late February that it could face fines of up to $4.6 billion if federal regulators concluded that the company had installed pollution-control defeat devices on about 104,000 diesel-powered pickups and SUVs.

Volkswagen was levied $2.8 billion in criminal fines and $1.5 billion in civil penalties after it admitted to programming its diesel cars to trick emissions testers into believing the engines released far less pollution into the air than they actually did, in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

According to regulators in normal driving the cars emitted up to 40 times more smog-causing nitrogen oxide than the legal limit.