BREAKING NEWS

AG Schmitt Announces Settlements with Fiat Chrysler and Auto Parts Supplier Bosch for Adding Unlawful “Defeat Devices” to Diesel Vehicles


Jan 16, 2019, 08:49 AM
DateTime:
Jan 16, 2019, 08:46 AM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that Missouri has obtained settlements providing millions of dollars for Missouri consumers who purchased or leased Fiat Chrysler vehicles containing illegal defeat devices. The settlements also 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 Bosch. Bosch supplied and helped program the illegal emissions “defeat device” software used by both Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen in their diesel vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler

The settlement with Fiat Chrysler caps a nearly two-year investigation by the state Attorneys General. The investigation found that Fiat Chrysler cheated on emissions tests by adjusting the vehicles’ software to conceal that the vehicles emitted 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 the Fiat Chrysler violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by 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.

Missouri’s settlement also prohibits Fiat Chrysler from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and requires Fiat Chrysler to carry out its obligations under a related consumer class action settlement agreement in the Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL Consumer Settlement”) pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The MDL 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. Additionally, the MDL Consumer Settlement requires Fiat Chrysler, together with co-defendant Bosch, pay eligible owners who take their vehicle to an authorized dealer for the software repair an average of approximately $2,908 in restitution and to pay lessees and former owners who do so $990 in restitution. Related settlements between Fiat Chrysler and the United States Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the State of California also 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.

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.

“Companies like Fiat Chrysler that actively conceal harmful practices from Missourians will not be tolerated,” AG Schmitt said. “My office will continue to fight deceptive conduct to protect Missourians and their families.”

Bosch

In addition to consumer products, Bosch is a major supplier to the global automotive industry. Bosch supplies auto manufacturers with the electronic control units that house the complex software that controls nearly all aspects of an engine’s performance, including emissions systems. When Volkswagen, a Bosch customer, was revealed to have used defeat device software in its diesel vehicles, several states Attorneys General, including the Missouri Attorney General, commenced a separate investigation into the role Bosch played in enabling vehicle manufacturers to potentially violate emissions regulations and deceive consumers about compliance with those regulations.

 As a result of this investigation, 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. Bosch will make a separate $5 million payment to the National Association of Attorneys General 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.