Fiat Chrysler rocked by new emission cheating accusations

After "Dieselgate", US authorities turn to another carmaker...

Fiat Chrysler rocked by new emission cheating accusations

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, centre, and North American International Auto Show Chairman Sam Slaughter, right, are given a tour of the Mopar area from Ron Stallworth, left, of Fiat Chrysler in Detroit. Picture by Carlos Osorio AP/Press Association Images

Shares in Fiat Chrysler closed more than 10% lower on US markets on Thursday after it became the latest car manufacturing company to be accused by the US authorities of cheating in terms of emissions standards.

The company's chief executive Sergio Marchionne angrily rejected the US Environmental Protection Agency's claims that it had used illegal software on more than 100,000 diesel-powered jeeps and pick-up trucks. The EPA has found "at least eight" of the software modifying emissions control systems.

He countered that the agency was guilty of grandstanding in the final days of the Obama Administration and tarring all motor companies with the same brush. Marchionne told CNBC that "our conscious is completely clear", saying:

"This last action by the EPA, which effectively confirmed the 2025 standards with our consultation with industry was, in my view, an unwarranted act. And so, I sincerely hope that with the new administration we'll get a better audience to try to resolve these issues and determine what is, in fact, doable by 2025."

Thus far, the authorities have not accused Fiat of deliberate cheating, a charge that Volkswagen has acknowledged as part of its agreement to pay €4.3bn in criminal and civil fines. It has also not instructed the company to stop selling its cars.

Earlier this week, Fiat Chrysler had to clarify that Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election had no impact on its decision to invest $1bn in expanding its production plants in Ohio and Michigan.

The American-Italian firm's announcement came ahead of the major Detroit auto show.

The move, which will create 2,000 jobs, was welcomed by Trump in a series of tweets.