Source: Calif. Attorney General
May 9, 2019 (Sacramento) – Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that consumers may begin to apply for relief as part of the coordinated government and private class action settlements with Fiat Chrysler. The settlements, announced in January 2019 and approved on May 3, 2019, resolved allegations that the company violated environmental and consumer protection laws by using “defeat device software” to circumvent emissions testing.
Fiat Chrysler is accused of installing the defeat device software in approximately 100,000 vehicles nationwide and about 13,500 vehicles in California. The affected vehicles are 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s equipped with 3.0L EcoDiesel engines.
With court approval of the settlements, consumers may now begin scheduling appointments to receive approved emissions modifications on their vehicles, along with extended warranties. Consumers may also submit claims for monetary compensation. Owners and lessees are not required to receive the approved emissions modification.
“California’s emission standards exist to protect our residents and the environment from harmful pollution,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Fiat Chrysler not only violated the law and our trust, but did so at the expense of our environment. We held Fiat Chrysler accountable by securing important funds for environmental protection efforts and consumers. As the settlement we negotiated is now finalized, consumers may begin applying for relief from the company.”
California’s and the United States’ settlements with Fiat Chrysler are valued at more than $500 million. Fiat Chrysler’s settlement with California and the United States requires the company to establish a recall program offering consumers an approved emissions modification to bring the vehicles into emissions compliance.
Fiat Chrysler must also provide an extended warranty to consumers who receive the approved emissions modification. The government settlement also requires Fiat Chrysler to conduct ongoing testing of emissions compliance, durability, and the vehicles’ on board diagnostics systems. In addition, a related class action settlement provides approximately $300 million in monetary compensation to eligible class members.
Current owners and lessees of the vehicles can learn more about the approved emissions modification, and schedule appointments to receive the approved emissions modification and extended warranty, and class members may submit claims for monetary compensation (ranging from $990 to $3,075 per eligible class member), by visiting www.ecodieselsettlement.com.
The settlement resolves allegations that Fiat Chrysler installed software in certain diesel vehicles that would cause nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles to be within legal limits during emission testing, but to exceed legal limits during ordinary operation.
These exceedances were detected in a joint effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) using enhanced screening and testing procedures originally developed during testing of Volkswagen light-duty diesel vehicles. Shortly after revelations of excess emissions by Volkswagen in September 2015, all manufacturers of light-duty diesel vehicles were informed that these new testing methods would be employed industry-wide to identify defeat devices.
As a result of investigations using the new testing procedures, the agencies alleged that diesel 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s contained defeat devices. California’s complaint alleges that, in addition to misleading regulators and violating environmental laws, Fiat Chrysler’s use of the defeat device software and marketing of the vehicles violated California consumer protection laws. The vehicles were marketed to consumers as environmentally friendly, meeting or exceeding California’s emissions rules, and providing best in class fuel economy and driving range.