DETROIT, Michigan: The U.S.-based business of Fiat-Chrysler’s Stellantis pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy last week and agreed to pay a $300 million fine as part of a plea agreement.
According to court documents, the agreement aims to resolve a multi-year U.S. Justice Department diesel emissions fraud probe.
FCA US, now part of Stellantis, was charged with evading emissions requirements for more than 100,000 older Ram pickup trucks and Jeep sport-utility vehicles sold in the U.S.
“FCA US engaged in a multi-year scheme to mislead U.S. regulators and customers,” commented Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite.
The U.S. Justice Department will hold “accountable companies that seek to place profits above candor, good corporate governance, and timely remediation,” he added.
In Detroit, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds set a sentencing date of 18th July.
A $203.6 million forfeiture penalty and a $96.1 million fine are included in the settlement.
As part of the class-action diesel lawsuit, FCA US previously paid a $311 million civil penalty and over $183 million in compensation to over 63,000 people, the government noted.
FCA US will be on probation for three years.
The Justice Department said FCA US installed deceptive software to avoid regulatory scrutiny and fraudulently help its diesel vehicles meet required emissions standards, adding that the company “purposely calibrated the emissions control systems” to produce fewer emissions during the federal test procedures, compared to normal driving conditions.
Meanwhile, Stellantis has confirmed the settlement.
Five years before the Stellantis plea deal, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a similar scandal affecting nearly 600,000 vehicles, which became known as “Dieselgate.”