Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt has said he wants to pull Fiat models that breach emissions regulations from the market, according to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “The Italian authorities have known for several months that Fiat, in the opinion of our experts, uses illegal shut-off devices,” he claimed. The European Commission has expressed concern that the Fiat 500X hatchback in particular has been fitted with software that throttles the emissions treatment system during regulation testing to pass the current threshold.
This comes just days after the US Justice Department announced an investigation into Fiat Chrysler, the American arm of the company. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in a statement, that he is “deeply troubled” by the EPA findings and will work with state and federal agencies to investigate claims against Fiat Chrysler. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has condemned all allegations as “absolute nonsense” in a press conference, and said his company never attempted to cheat emissions rules by detecting when the vehicle was in test mode.
Both branches of investigation have hit the Fiat Chrysler hard in the markets. US-listed shares dropped 10 per cent at the news and Milan-listed shares 16 per cent, making only modest gains on Monday. If either the European Commission or the US Justice Department prove that emissions rules were violated, Fiat Chrysler could face fines of $(USD)44,539 per vehicle.
There are no plans to halt Fiat sales in the US. Both the petrol and diesel 500X models are not available in New Zealand, but Fiat is still taking expressions of interest from prospective buyers on their local website.