French dieselgate continues with FCA Italy under investigation
After Renault, Volkswagen, and the French side of carmaker group Stellantis (Citroën and Peugeot), the French Office for the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) has put FCA Italy under investigation for suspicions of massive fraud in the anti-pollution controls of diesel vehicles.
In its report, the French institution mentions a maximum fine of € 9,6 billion. FCA Italy contests the allegations and firmly believes its vehicles complied with the regulations in force at the time.
The Dieselgate scandal in France is growing. With the indictment of FCA Italy (part of Stellantis) this Tuesday, five manufacturers are now being prosecuted for suspicions of massive fraud in the anti-pollution controls of diesel vehicles.
€ 9,6 billion fine pending
In addition to its indictment for fraud, Fiat-Chrysler’s lawyer, Alexis Gublin, informed the French press agency AFP that the carmaker has also been placed under the status of an assisted witness for “obstruction of investigation”.
The group is thus required to post a 150 000 euro bond and provide a 200 000 euro bank guarantee, much less than the respective €10 and 30 million Peugeot had to provide. FCA Italy risks a “maximum fine” of € 9,6 billion if the investigation turns into a trial.
In its report, the DGCCRF indicated that the operation of certain engine pollution control devices was allegedly modified so that NOx emissions were below the regulatory threshold.
“Without this strategy, vehicles wouldn’t have been homologated. This practice, which has deceived consumers, involves a hierarchical chain of validation and requires coordination between several departments,” notes the DGCCRF.
‘FCA vehicles are regulation compliant’
“The company is firmly convinced that its emission control systems met all applicable requirements between 1 September 2014 and 15 March 2017, and continues to do so, and looks forward to the opportunity to demonstrate this,” writes Stellantis in a press release.
Mr. Gublin notes that FCA Italy now has the opportunity to present a precise and exhaustive defense against the suspicions.