Fiat Chrysler to recall 862,500 vehicles over emissions failures

The company’s share price plunged by more than two percent following the announcement [File: Paul Sancya/AP]

Multinational car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) will recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles after they failed to meet US emissions standards, according to US regulators.

The voluntary recall of 862,500 units involves models of the Dodge Journey, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger and Dodge Caliber sedans, as well as the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot SUVs produced for model years 2011 and 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The recall was prompted by in-use emissions investigations by the EPA, as well as mandatory testing carried out by FCA in line with the agency’s rules, the regulator said.

FCA will replace the catalytic converters – devices in the exhaust system of motor vehicles which convert pollutant gases into less harmful substances – on the affected vehicles.

The EPA said the scale of the recall meant it would be carried out in phases this year, beginning with the oldest vehicles, and owners may continue to drive their vehicles in the meantime.

We will provide assistance to consumers navigating the recall and continue to ensure that auto manufacturers abide by our nation’s laws designed to protect human health and the environment,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said.

‘No safety implications’

The US-Italian manufacturer said the EPA’s announcement had “no safety implications” and no “associated fines” were levied, the Reuters news agency reported, adding it reflected a “new policy for announcing routine emissions recalls”.

“The issue was discovered by FCA during routine in-use emissions testing and reported to the agency,” FCA said in a statement, according to the Reuters report.

“We began contacting affected customers last month to advise them of the needed repairs, which will be provided at no charge,” the company added.

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The company’s share price plunged by more than two percent following the EPA’s announcement before recovering slightly, to about 0.8 percent down from opening prices on Wednesday, at the time of publication.

The FCA recall comes two months after the company agreed to pay about $800m to resolve claims brought by the US Justice Department, the EPA and the State of California over its alleged use of illegal software to produce false results on diesel-emissions tests, violating clean-air rules.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, accused the FCA of being a “multinational corporate bad actor” when the settlement was announced. 

The US government has stepped-up enforcement of vehicle emissions rules in recent years after Volkswagen AG admitted in September 2015 to intentionally evading emissions rules.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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