FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne probably thinks they’re “smoking illegal material.”
In a report by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said that he would like to take Fiat models that defraud emissions regulations off the market. The minister went on to say that the European Commission has a duty to ensure that Fiat vehicles that fail to comply with emissions regulations are pulled from sale.
In a statement, he said, “The Italian authorities have known for several months that Fiat, in the opinion of our experts, uses illegal shut-off devices. Fiat has so far refused to participate in the clarification [of the matter, and the commission] must consequently ensure that a recall is organised.”
It seems that the commission harbours concerns regarding the Fiat 500X and a handful of other models, believed to feature a shut-off device that kills emissions treatment systems to cheat regulatory testing. An environmental lobbyist group, DUH, also claim that the 2.0-litre turbodiesel 500X releases excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide, though it also claims that variations of the Opel Zafira, Renault Espace, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are guilty of the same.
The KBA, Germany’s federal motor transport authority, also found that the emissions of one particular Fiat model (model not disclosed) was “throttled back” after 22-minutes. The normal regulatory tests take about 20-minutes. In retaliation, Italian transport minister Riccardo Nencini labelled the German accusations as “incomprehensible,” saying that the Italian government has been nothing but cooperative.
“We have repeatedly asked the Italian authorities to come forward with convincing answers as soon as possible,” the Commission stated. “The EU Commission is now doing exactly wha has been demanded for a long time: It’s talking to the Italians.” It’s important to note that the “throttle back” of the exhaust treatment system may have occurred during a ‘thermal window,’ where manufacturers are permitted to turn down their emissions management systems to protect engines from damage due to condensation and other factors, while also improving performance and increasing service intervals.
These reports come just days after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an offensive against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), accusing the company of installing “defeat devices” in their 3.0-litre turbodiesel. These allegations were rubbished by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, who called them “absolute nonsense.”
“There is nothing in common between the Volkswagen reality and what we are describing here,” he retorted. He went on to day that those who disagreed with him must be “smoking illegal material.” Last week, Volkswagen copped to a guilty plea of defrauding the US government’s emissions regulations, along with a $4.3-billion fine. Six of VW’s executives, complicit in the deceit, have been charged by the FBI, with one arrested thus far.
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