Fiat Chrysler Handed $300m Fine in Dieselgate Probe – Is BMW Next?

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FCA or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been in the spotlight lately as it became the latest carmaker to be implicated in the diesel emissions scandal. 

Now one of the car brands under the Stellantis group, FCA’s US unit pleaded guilty to allegations that they used defeat devices in their diesel vehicles so these could pass emissions standards. Defeat devices are programmed to manipulate emissions testing. 

The carmaker received their sentence around three months ago in the US. They are expected to pay £245.8 million as a penalty for lying about the emissions levels of over 100,000 of their diesel cars made available to US consumers. 

During the three-year investigation, authorities discovered that FCA built a new engine for the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is also known as a second-generation EcoDiesel model and was sold to customers in the US as clean vehicles with best-in-class fuel efficiency. 

Fiat Chrysler manipulated the emissions control system of the vehicles so that these would release lesser NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions while in regulatory testing. Without the defeat devices, the vehicles wouldn’t have passed emissions tests; they emitted massively high levels of NOx when taken out of the lab and driven on real roads. As such, their Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees are heavy pollutants.

Authorities believe that the FCA exhibited fraudulent conduct and knowingly deceived their customers. Fiat Chrysler admitted that they knew about the defeat devices, which were installed so that features that attracted customers would be properly maintained. They further said that the devices “respected” vehicle performance and fuel efficiency.

Aside from the fine, Fiat Chrysler also accepted an organisation probation that’s good for three years. Thus, they should not take part in illegal activities of the same nature. The carmaker must also regularly review their US Clean Air Act compliance with the guidance and knowledge of industry authorities.

Three of FCA’s former employees were also brought to court and indicted for violating the Clean Air Act, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

Stellantis released a statement that assured consumers and authorities that problems with the affected vehicles have already been resolved and they have no need to do more recalls. 

When it all started

FCA’s case is just one of the many repercussions of the 2015 Dieselgate scandal that started with the Volkswagen Group. US authorities caught the German carmaker using defeat devices in Audi and Volkswagen vehicles sold in the American market. The devices artificially lowered NOx emissions so the vehicles would emissions-compliant. On real roads, they released voluminous amounts of NOx.

Volkswagen has spent billions over the years as they had to pay fines, settlement fees, and legal costs. They’ve also had to recall thousands upon thousands of affected Audi and VW diesel vehicles. 

Other carmakers were soon implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The three carmakers were also caught secretly working and colluding on delaying clean emissions technology. Daimler (Mercedes’ parent company) reported the existence of the cartel and did not get fined.  VW and BMW, however, were required to pay hundreds of thousands in fines.

Like VW, Mercedes has also spent billions in payoffs. Affected Mercedes vehicles have also been recalled and fitted with the correct engines. 

On the other hand, although BMW’s headquarters have already been raided and affected vehicles have been or are being recalled, authorities haven’t set a specific fine for the carmaker. Now that Fiat Chrysler has had their day in court in the US, BMW may be next in line as thousands of car owners are already preparing to bring emissions claims against them.

Why make a diesel claim?

Bringing a diesel claim against BMW and other Dieselgate-involved carmakers is the right of every affected car owner. Manufacturers should be held responsible for their lying and mis-selling. 

In addition, NOx emissions also have life-threatening impacts on human health and the environment. 

Nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are nitrogen oxide’s primary components, can easily damage the environment. The ground-level ozone that NOx produces when it reacts with these gases damages vegetation. 

NOx emissions have negative impacts on human health, some of which can change lead to unexpected lifestyle changes. 

If you are exposed to low-level NOx emissions, your health impacts include asthma, lung problems (such as fluids filling the lungs), breathing difficulties, and respiratory issues such as bronchitis. In some cases, exposure can also result in an increase in anxiety and depression. 

Your cognitive health may also weaken, which means you can develop Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia.

If you are exposed to high-level NOx emissions, the effects can be serious and life-threatening: cancer, vocal cord spasm, asphyxiation, and cardiovascular conditions. Severe cases often result in premature death. 

These are the reasons why you need to make a BMW emissions claim and hold your carmaker to account for their wrongdoing.

However, as not everyone with a BMW or any affected vehicle is eligible to make a claim, this should be the first to-do on your list.  Get in touch with ClaimExperts.co.uk to collect all the relevant information you need to confirm your eligibility before starting your emissions claim process.