Image source does not exist News Release: 2017-01-12 Fiat-Chrysler notified of violations of federal and California air quality regulations

Release #:17-03

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Fiat-Chrysler notified of violations of federal and California air quality regulations

Expanded testing program, developed during VW case, finds undeclared emission control device

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued a Notice of Violation to FCA US LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., and Chrysler Group LLC (collectively FCA) after detecting the presence of a number of auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) in 3.0 liter diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram pickup trucks from model years 2014-2016. FCA failed to disclose these devices, which in some cases significantly increase emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) when activated.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has issued a similar NOV to FCA covering about 104,000 cars and pickups nationally. There are about 14,000 of these vehicles on the road in California.

On September 25, 2015 CARB notified major automakers that diesel vehicles would face expanded emissions testing as part of ARB’s In-Use Compliance Program, which includes modified test procedures in the lab, and testing of emissions while the car is being driven on the road in addition to certification test cycles. This enhanced testing program was developed during the Volkswagen investigation and is now being used routinely by CARB for vehicle certification and in-use compliance testing. The current violations were discovered as a result of the enhanced testing procedures.

“Once again, a major automaker has failed to meet their legal obligations for vehicle certification and gotten caught,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

FCA’s actions have created substantial excess, illegal, and on-going emissions and harm that have impacted, and continue to impact, public health and the environment in California.  

Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is particularly harmful in California. NOx emissions contribute to the formation of ozone, and can worsen symptoms of asthma and cardio-pulmonary disease. About 10 million Californians live in what U.S. EPA considers severe non-attainment areas for ozone,

The presence of an AECD is not necessarily a regulatory violation. An AECD is an element of design (for example, software, strategy, algorithm, hardware, etc.) which in some way alters the performance of the vehicle emissions control system. An AECD is sometimes allowed in situations where running the full emissions control system under extreme conditions could damage the engine.

It is, however, a violation of California and federal regulations for an automaker to include any AECD in a vehicle without notifying the agencies responsible for  certification. None of the AECDs in this case were disclosed, and many do not operate during certification testing – only when the car is taken off the required testing procedures in the laboratory. To date none has been finally determined to be a “defeat device” as was the case with VW, but the investigation is still underway.

Of particular concern are AECDs found in these vehicles which reduce or turn off  exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or reduce the effectiveness of selective catalyst reduction (SCR) system.  Both EGR and SCR control the emissions of NOx from the engine.

Today’s NOV includes 11 violations of California’s Health & Safety Code:

    Invalid certification applications

    Importation, delivery, purchase, acquisition, or receipt of uncertified vehicles  

    Intentional or negligent importation, delivery, purchase, receipt or acquisition of uncertified vehicles

    Intentional or negligent sales or offers to sell uncertified vehicles

    Sale of vehicles that do not meet emission standards

    Failure to comply with the emission standards or test procedures – Durability Data Vehicle

    Failure to comply with the emission standards or test procedures – Emissions Data Vehicle (EDV)

    Failure to comply with onboard diagnostic (OBD) system requirements

    Invalid Vehicle Emission Control Information Label (compliance statement)

    Invalid smog rating on the Smog Index Label

    Violation of emission warranty provisions

The next step in the NOV process will be for FCA to justify the use of the AECDs in the affected vehicles. If the company cannot do that, additional violations may result.

The CARB Cover Letter is here:

The CARB Notice of Violation is here:

An FAQ on this case is here:

U.S. EPA documents are here:

ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.