Thursday

19th Sep 2019

Italy plays down US diesel probe into Fiat Chrysler's Jeep

  • The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a different engine calibration in the EU, say Italian authorities (Photo: Petr Magera)

A Jeep diesel model that is under scrutiny in the United States for violating rules on emissions is not affected in Europe, according to the Italian ministry for infrastructure and transport.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US issued a notice of violation for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram 1500, made by the Italian-American car company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The EPA had not found clear emissions cheating of the type Volkswagen admitted to, but said that Fiat Chrysler had not properly reported the way its emissions filter system worked.

Only the Jeep Grand Cherokee is sold on the European market.

“This vehicle is fitted with a 3.0 diesel engine which is also fitted on the US version, but with a different engine calibration,” said Luisa Gabbi, spokeswoman for the Italian ministry responsibly for certifying and approving cars for the EU market.

“Therefore, the EU emission type approval granted by the Italian Approval Authority (the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport) is not affected.”

Gabbi, in an email to EUobserver, also noted that the EPA had not informed the ministry about the notice of violation. Officials learned about the affair in the press.

However, a spokesman for the Dutch type approval authority RDW, which also approves Fiat Chrysler cars, told EUobserver that it had received a message from EPA on the same day as the notice was issued.

Fiat Chrysler meanwhile has always denied it has acted against the law.

It has already been accused of emissions cheating by the German car approval authority, the Federal Motor Transport Agency (KBA).

According to the KBA, a Fiat diesel model reduced the effectiveness of its emissions filtering system after 22 minutes – a suspicious behaviour considering the official approval test is 20 minutes.

Italy disputes the accusation, and a commission-led mediation between the two is ongoing.

“We expect to meet again at the beginning of February and to provide the Commission with our findings proving that the FCA cars involved are fully in conformity with the EU legislation,” said Gabbi.

Interpretation

Despite common EU legislation, national authorities sometimes have very different interpretation of what constitutes an illegal defeat device – the official term for an emissions cheating system.

Many carmakers have used defeat devices, but claim that they are needed to protect the engine, which is the only exception allowed under EU law.

The European Commission last year said that, while the law is clear, it would publish guidelines that should help approval authorities determine if defeat devices are illegal.

A commission source told EUobserver that these legal guidelines would be ready on Thursday (26 January).

Meanwhile, the Dutch RDW is also investigating suspicious emissions behaviour in Fiat Chrysler cars.

“That has nothing to do with the EPA case,” an RDW spokesman told EUobserver. “It concerns a different type of engine.”

He said RDW is in talks with Fiat Chrysler and other car companies for which the authority registered “non-standard” emissions behaviour in a report published last autumn.

Magazine

Dieselgate: The year that went up in smoke

The outrage at Volkswagen's industrial-scale emissions cheating has not subsided, but the EU and Germany have done little to punish the automaker or provide compensation to its customers.

Investigation

Fiat questions 'fantastical' EU emissions tests

Italian-American car maker Fiat had "no explanations" for tests showing its cars polluted above EU limits when questioned by MEPs, described some tests as “fantastical”.

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously considering' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us