Let's Try This Again: Fiat Chrysler Attempts to Certify 2017 Diesel Rams and Jeeps, Avoid Fines

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

After being forbidden from selling 2017 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hoping for a little love from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA suspended the certification process in January after discovering eight undeclared auxiliary emissions control devices on the EcoDiesel models. The existence of the software, installed in those vehicles since the 2014 model year, earned FCA a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act. Since then, the automaker has attempted to work with environmental regulators to smooth over the controversy, even as its mailbox filled with subpoenas from federal and state authorities.

Yesterday, we learned the Justice Department was readying a lawsuit against FCA. With the potential for billions of dollars in fines staring it in the face, FCA has whipped up a new application in the hopes of placating the EPA and selling some light-duty diesels.

This morning, the automaker announced it had filed an application for diesel vehicle emissions certification with the EPA and California Air Resources Board for the Ram and Jeep models. This time around, the models come equipped with “updated emissions software calibrations.”

In a release, FCA stated:

The filing is the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology. With the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles.

FCA US also believes that these actions should help facilitate a prompt resolution to ongoing discussions with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and other governmental agencies.

As part of its attempt to appease regulators, FCA claims it will make the software updates available to owners of 2014-2016 Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel owners through their dealership. The automaker says it doesn’t expect “any impact on performance or fuel efficiency.”

FCA denied it was attempting to pull a fast one on the EPA, with CEO Sergio Marchionne saying at the time, “We’re not trying to break the bloody law.” The maximum fine FCA could face for each of the 104,000 affected vehicles stands at $44,539 — a $4.6 billion price tag.

There has so far been no response from the EPA, meaning it could be a tense weekend in Auburn Hills.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Klossfam Klossfam on May 19, 2017

    I had my 2015 RAM 1500 EcoD for 18 months and had 3 software reflashes just in that period of time...So EcoDiesel owners will not be intimidated by additional software updates...It was 32,000 trouble free miles for the most part...the updates were mainly to fix things like overly sensitive EGR valve warnings and similar false check engine warnings. I have a 2017 Ridgeline now but it sucks that the EPA had/has to torture FCA about this power plant...

  • No Nickname Required No Nickname Required on May 19, 2017

    Those FCA engineers must have been working around the clock for the past 24 hours to complete that "extensive testing". Seriously though, I fail to see why FCA has been dragging their feet about this whole issue. It seems to me that if they are telling the truth they have nothing to hide. Just disclose what the software is and what it does and let the EPA see for themselves.

    • See 2 previous
    • No Nickname Required No Nickname Required on May 22, 2017

      Thanks for the clarification guys. It makes more sense now.

  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
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