FCA US pleads guilty to cheating in diesel emission tests

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 file photo, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCA logo is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Fiat Chrysler overcame coronavirus-related factory shutdowns to post losses that were not as bad as feared, and the company predicted improvement for the remainder of 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – FCA US, formerly known as Chrysler Group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy Friday in a scheme to deceive regulators about diesel emission systems on 101,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 trucks.

FCA US agreed to pay a $96.1 million fine and give up an additional $203.5 million, federal prosecutors said.

Engineers were accused of using software tricks and taking other steps to meet U.S. emission standards while marketing the vehicles as “clean EcoDiesel.”

“FCA US made false and misleading representations to regulators to ensure that it obtained regulatory approval to sell” the vehicles in the U.S., the Justice Department said.

The vehicles were diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 trucks from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years. FCA now is part of Stellantis.

“Consumer claims related to the subject vehicles have already been resolved, and no additional recalls are required,” Stellantis said.

Separately, three FCA employees face charges in the investigation.

In 2017, Volkswagen was ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty for cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests. The company also paid $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and said it would spend $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation.