As another car maker is investigated for possible use of an emissions cheat device, we look at the potential implications for British car owners.
What is the issue?
The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) of not telling the authorities about diesel emission software “that could allow excess diesel emissions”, according to the Financial Times.
Which car models are involved?
Vehicles fitted with FCA’s 3.0-litre diesel engine are alleged to be fitted with the software. They include 2014-on examples of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram pick-up.
In America 104,000 of these vehicles have been sold, and there are a further 600,000 of them in Europe. The Dodge Ram isn’t sold officially in the UK, but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says there are 4000 3.0 diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees in the UK.
The EPA has been investigating FCA’s emissions software for around 18 months. It has stated that the car maker could be liable for fines of around $44,500 (£36,500) per vehicle in the USA, which could create a total compensation payout of $4.6bn (£3.5bn).
What does the car maker say about the allegations?
Following the EPA’s accusation FCA in the USA stated: “FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-litre diesel engine.
“FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’ emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not ‘defeat’ devices
How does it affect you?
We don’t yet know the answer to this, but the Department for Transport has said that it is "urgently seeking further information" from the EPA as well as Fiat Chrysler about vehicles sold in the UK.
A spokesperson added: "Our priority is to protect the interests of UK consumers ... the department's new market surveillance unit has the ability to test these vehicles if necessary.”
What other emissions investigations are happening?
The French authorities are considering whether they should investigate Renault over suspected “cheating” in diesel emissions tests.
This follows on from the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, for which the group’s US division has agreed to pay a settlement of $4.3bn (£3.5bn) to US regulators.
Read more – Volkswagen emissions - what you need to know
Read more – What Car?'s 2017 Car of the Year winners
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