The EPA and the California Air Resources Board have slapped Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) with a notice of violation after it found alleged Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices, or AECDs that have been dubbed illegal.
These AECDs were found in 2014-16 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee powered by the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine following which FCA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (“FCA NV”) have been dragged to court in Canada under a potential class-action lawsuit demanding $250 million in loss and damage.
From what we can see, FCA is most probably in trouble and is likely to face huge losses in terms of fine – first in the US and most likely in Canada as well. While an actual value can’t be attached to the losses for now, it won’t be too far-fetched to peg these losses in millions.
However, there could be something positive for FCA considering that the automaker has already announced a Jeep pickup truck and while many would question this move because RAM range of vehicles already cater to this niche, the EPA probe and resulting losses could mean that the Jeep pickup truck could be company’s lifeline.
Details about the Jeep pickup are scarce, but it is said that the vehicle will be a midsized model based on the Wrangler and is heavily influenced by the RAM 1500. The EPA probe and the possible class action lawsuit in Canada could change that and force FCA to go for a different powertrain choice in place of the diesel mills that are rumoured to arrive with the vehicle.
There is a possibility that the Jeep pickup could bring with it some forgotten features like an open-roof and a strong ability to take on the unforgiving off-road terrain. Jeep is known for its offroaders and that experience could enable the pickup truck to capture a large slice of the market.