St. Louis Record

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Missouri in line for settlements with Fiat Chrysler, Bosch regarding emission defeat devices on diesel vehicles


By Tomas Kassahun | Jan 25, 2019

Law money 09

JEFFERSON CITY – Attorney General Eric Schmitt recently said settlements with Fiat Chrysler will provide millions of dollars to Missouri consumers who purchased or leased Fiat Chrysler vehicles containing illegal emission defeat devices.

The settlements provide for combined payments of approximately $3.1 million to the state of Missouri and more than $171 million to 52 jurisdictions nationwide from Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Bosch, Schmitt said in a Jan. 16 release.

Schmitt said Bosch supplied and helped program the illegal emissions “defeat device” software used by Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen in their diesel vehicles.

According to the announcement, the settlement with Fiat Chrysler caps a nearly two-year investigation by the state.

Schmitt said the investigation found that Fiat Chrysler cheated on emissions tests by adjusting the vehicles’ software to conceal illegal levels of harmful nitrogen oxides 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.

The settlement requires Fiat Chrysler to pay Missouri more than $1.2 million to resolve claims that Fiat Chrysler violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by deceptively and unfairly marketing, selling and leasing the vehicles to consumers, according to Schmitt.

“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,” Schmitt said.

The Multidistrict Litigation Consumer Settlement requires Fiat Chrysler to eliminate the defeat device features from the relevant software through a software “flash fix” and to provide eligible owners and lessees with extended warranties, the release said.

“Total available restitution from the settlement is approximately $307 million, including approximately $5.7 million to owners and lessees of the approximately 1,929 affected vehicles in Missouri,” Schmitt said.

According to the release, Bosch is a major supplier to auto manufacturers for electronic control units that control engine performance, including emissions systems.

Schmitt said the states found that Bosch facilitated the implementation of defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles over a period that spanned more than a decade.

“Under the multistate settlement involving Missouri and 49 other jurisdictions, Bosch will pay a total of $98.7 million, of which Missouri will receive $1.9 Million,” Schmitt said. “Bosch will make a separate $5 million payment to the National Association of Attorneys General for training and future enforcement purposes.”

Under the related settlements, Bosch will also pay approximately $27.5 million to consumers who purchased or leased the affected Fiat Chrysler vehicles, the release said. 

Bosch earlier paid more than $275 million to consumers who purchased or leased the affected Volkswagen vehicles,  the press release said.

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