2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, Bear Mountain, May 2014Enlarge Photo
Just a day after sources pointed to a possible loggerheads between the Justice department and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over diesel emissions, the automaker announced Friday it would submit those vehicles for testing with fixes.
"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," the company wrote in a statement. "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."
Earlier this year, the EPA announced that it was pulling for sale Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel models, which were both equipped with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, after the agency said the automaker equipped those vehicles with potentially illegal undisclosed Auxiliary Emission Control Devices. The agency said the vehicles used up to eight AECDs that made the trucks and SUVs perform differently on emissions tests. The EPA asked the automaker for proof that the devices weren't "defeat devices" aimed at cheating emissions tests.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne refuted the claims in January.
"They cannot be classified as defeat devices because we're trying to defeat nothing," he said. "These were mechanisms that were put in place to protect the engine in particular circumstances when the engine was under load."
Since that announcement and up until Thursday, little information about the trucks and SUVs trickled out. Its unclear if the software fix for older models will net FCA any fines from federal administrators. The civil penalties per vehicle sold could be as high as $44,539.
"The rest of it really becomes a question of administrative compliance with the standard and whether we agree or not agree that there was an infraction in place," Marchionne said in January.
The automaker said in a statement Friday that the fix for older vehicles shouldn't impact performance or fuel economy.
Officials from the EPA declined to comment on the announcement.