FCA Gets OK to Sell 2017 Ram 1500, Jeep Cherokee Diesels | Edmunds

FCA Gets OK to Sell 2017 Ram 1500, Jeep Cherokee Diesels

After months of regulatory review and discussions, Fiat Chrysler has received approval to begin selling 2017 Ram 1500 pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs powered by 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) had accused the automaker of violating emissions regulations on earlier model diesel-engine vehicles. And in May the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against Fiat Chrysler, charging that it had failed to disclose engine management software on 104,000 Ram and Jeep vehicles manufactured since 2014 that allowed them to emit higher levels of nitrogen-oxide pollution than allowed by law.

Fiat Chrysler has denied deliberately altering software to circumvent emissions regulations.

After lengthy collaboration between Fiat Chrysler and the regulatory agencies, the company has updated the software on 2017 model-year diesel vehicles to bring them into compliance with emissions requirements. The automaker is still seeking approval for modified software to certify the earlier models.

"The approvals announced today represent a significant step toward resolving the issues raised by EPA and [CARB]," Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler's CEO, said in a statement. "We appreciate the efforts of the agencies in working with us to achieve this milestone. We are anxious to build on this progress to make appropriate updates to the emissions control software in our earlier model-year vehicles."

Fiat Chrysler resumed production of the diesel-powered trucks and SUVs earlier this month on the assumption that certification would be granted. The automaker says that no hardware updates are required for the modification and that the fuel economy and performance of the vehicles will not be affected.

In 2015, Volkswagen began having its own problems with the EPA in a scandal related to software on many of the company's diesel-powered models that allowed them to meet emissions regulations in test mode but exceed pollution limits in real-world driving. The software was installed on about 600,000 Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles in the U.S. and more than 10 million worldwide.

As a result, Volkswagen reached a $14.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government and embarked on a $10 billion buyback program with current owners of diesel vehicles.

Recently, a class-action lawsuit was filed against GM alleging that the Duramax diesel engines in its heavy-duty pickups, such as the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and GMC Sierra 2500HD, fail to meet emissions regulations. The suit charges that, though the engines comply with legal requirements while running at a steady speed during testing, they exceed limits on the road.

"These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves," GM responded in a statement. "The Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations."

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