Attorney General Phil Weiser announces consumer protection/environmental settlements with Fiat Chrysler, auto supplier Robert Bosch for undermining auto emissions regulations with unlawful defeat devices in diesel vehicles
Fiat Chrysler required to fix vehicles, provide restitution to Colorado consumers, and address environmental harms; settlements provide $5 million in civil penalties to Colorado
Jan. 29, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.) — Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that Colorado has joined a multi-state settlement that provides for millions of dollars in compensation for Colorado consumers who purchased or leased Fiat Chrysler vehicles containing illegal “defeat devices.” Colorado also joined a multi-state settlement with Bosch, which supplied and helped program the illegal emissions defeat device software that Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen used in their diesel vehicles. The settlements with Fiat Chrysler and Bosch also provide civil penalties of approximately $5 million to Colorado and payments of more than $171 million to 52 jurisdictions nationwide.
“By cheating on emissions testing, Fiat Chrysler misled Colorado consumers, harmed the environment, and potentially gained an advantage over automakers who played by the rules. To support responsible businesses, it is crucial that we hold companies accountable for irresponsible behavior like this,” said Weiser. “And by supplying the defeat devices and profiting from their illegal use, Bosch bears responsibility for the violations of Colorado law. Along with my office’s settlement with Fiat Chrysler, this action makes clear that we won’t tolerate cheating and deceptive behavior.”
Attorney General Weiser alleges that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., its U.S. subsidiary FCA US, LLC, its Italian affiliate V.M. Motori S.p.A., and V.M. North America, Inc. (collectively, “Fiat Chrysler”) installed unlawful defeat device software and undisclosed Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices in 2,882 Model Year 2014-16 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles sold in Colorado. Fiat Chrysler cheated on federal and state emissions tests by calibrating the vehicles’ software to conceal that the vehicles emitted higher than permitted levels of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) in real-world driving conditions, and misled consumers by falsely claiming the Eco-Diesel-branded Jeep SUVs and Ram 1500 trucks were environmentally friendly and compliant with the law in all 50 states.
Fiat Chrysler will pay Colorado more than $1.8 million in civil penalties under Colorado consumer protection laws for deceptively and unfairly marketing, selling, and leasing the vehicles to consumers. Nationwide, excluding the separate penalties the company will be required to pay to the federal government and California, the multistate agreement is expected to result in payments totaling $72.5 million to 49 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and Guam.
Colorado’s settlement also prohibits Fiat Chrysler from engaging in future unfair or deceptive sales practices and requires Fiat Chrysler to comply with the related Multidistrict Litigation Settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The MDL Settlement resolves claims brought by a national class of affected consumers and requires Fiat Chrysler to: eliminate the defeat device features from the covered vehicles; provide eligible owners and lessees extended warranties; and, together with co-defendant Bosch, pay eligible owners an average restitution of approximately $2,908 and eligible lessees and former owners $990. Related settlements between Fiat Chrysler and the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and the State of California require Fiat Chrysler to make available 200,000 upgraded catalytic converters to mitigate air pollution across the country when installed by Fiat Chrysler vehicle owners as replacements to their existing catalytic converters.
Assuming all owners and lessees nationwide participate, this will result in total available restitution of approximately $307 million, including millions of dollars to the Colorado owners and lessors of 2,882 affected vehicles.
The settlements with Fiat Chrysler follow earlier settlements with Volkswagen for equipping, marketing, selling and leasing more than 570,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel vehicles with illegal defeat devices. Under those settlements, Volkswagen paid Colorado civil penalties of more than $14 million, fixed or repurchased the affected vehicles, and agreed to pay up to $10,000 in restitution to each of the 11,162 Colorado consumers who were affected by Volkswagen’s emissions cheating.
Bosch is a multinational engineering company well known for its consumer products and is also a major supplier to the global automotive industry. Among the products Bosch supplies to its auto manufacturing customers are the electronic control units that control the emissions systems. When Volkswagen, a Bosch customer, was revealed to have systematically utilized defeat device software in its diesel vehicles, several state Attorneys General began a separate investigation into the role Bosch played in enabling its customers to potentially violate federal and state emissions regulations. Today, after another Bosch customer, Fiat Chrysler, has settled claims that it too employed illegal defeat devices, the Attorney General is announcing the conclusion of that separate probe into Bosch’s conduct.
Weiser alleges that Bosch facilitated the implementation of the defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles. Notwithstanding concerns about the illegality of the devices raised internally, to management, and externally, to Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler, Bosch continued to assist these customers as they implemented the defeat devices and concealed their misconduct from regulators and the public.
Under the settlement with Colorado, Bosch will pay Colorado more than $3.2 million in civil penalties. The agreement also requires Bosch to maintain robust processes to monitor compliance and to refuse to accommodate requests for software development and programming that could result in the installation of defeat device software.
Under a multistate agreement involving Colorado and 49 other jurisdictions, Bosch will pay a total of $98.7 million under consumer protection and environmental laws and make a separate $5 million payment to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) for training and future enforcement purposes. Under the related MDL Settlements, Bosch will also pay approximately $27.5 million to consumers who purchased or leased the affected Fiat Chrysler vehicles. Bosch earlier paid more than $275 million to consumers who purchased or leased the affected Volkswagen vehicles.
Lawrence Pacheco, Director of Communications
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