We haven’t heard much about the U.S. government’s lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles lately, but it’s apparently entering the homestretch with a few hiccups.
Reuters reports a federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice and FCA to hold new settlement talks with a court-appointed specialist to hammer out the final details of the settlement which involves the automaker’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.
Sources have told the publication that FCA has agreed to nearly all of the government’s demands, but the two sides remain far apart on the penalties and fines. In the past, the government has made it clear that it wants to hit FCA with “very substantial civil penalties” that “adequately reflect the seriousness of the conduct that led to these violations.”
There’s no word on how much the government is seeking, but FCA obviously wants the smallest fine possible. That’s the key sticking point at the moment as the two sides are reportedly “hundreds of millions of dollars” apart from reaching an agreement. This suggests the company is looking at a massive fine and FCA has previously warned investors that it could be looking at billions in penalties.
A new round of talks will reportedly kick off on December 3rd and the judge has ordered both sides to “fully cooperate and communicate” with the settlement specialist.
It remains unclear when an agreement could be reached, but the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency sued FCA because they allege the company’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine had “software functions” that were not disclosed during the certification process. The government went on to say these functions act as a defeat device so diesel-powered models can pass federal emissions tests while performing less efficiency during normal driving.
At the time, FCA said it would “defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests.”