Stellantis pleads guilty to paying $300 million in emissions fraud charges
Stellantis pleads guilty to paying $300 million in emissions fraud charges.
Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge, has agreed to plead guilty to environmental crimes and pay $300 million to settle an investigation into illegally concealing the amount of pollution from its diesel-engine vehicles, Reuters reported.
The guilty plea will resolve a years-long U.S. Justice Department investigation into the automaker’s efforts to evade emissions requirements for more than 100,000 older Ram pickups and Jeep SUVs sold in the United States.
he plea agreement is expected to be announced next week.
A spokesman for Stellantis declined to comment. The Justice Department also did not respond to a request for comment.
Stellantis has been under investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission for emissions fraud since at least 2019, when it initiated a recall of nearly 1 million vehicles that did not meet U.S. emissions standards. The automaker later settled a civil case with the Justice Department that ultimately forced the automaker to pay the owners of the affected cars $307 million.
So far, only one senior executive has been criminally charged. Last year, the Justice Department disclosed charges against two other Stellantis employees involved in emissions fraud.
In a December 2021 filing, Stellantis said it was setting aside 266 million euros ($283 million) in case it needed to pay fines for fraud allegations. The company also disclosed that it has also been subject to individual lawsuits related to the scheme.
The plea deal comes nearly seven years after the public learned of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal, now known as “Dieselgate.” The automaker later admitted it had installed so-called “deactivation devices” in at least 600,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. — and about 1.5 million globally — to trick the government’s emissions tests into polluting beyond legal limits.
A number of other automakers have since been drawn into similar schemes. The Justice Department is also investigating Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, though the German automaker was finally allowed to settle the criminal charges last August for more than $2 billion. Last year, federal investigators concluded a nearly two-year investigation into the process Ford used to assess emissions from its vehicles without bringing any charges.