Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Italy asks EU to postpone launching legal case over Fiat Chrysler emissions

Italy asks EU to postpone launching legal case over Fiat Chrysler emissions

"They (the Italian authorities) have yet to provide us with additional data to convince us that the (emission-modulation) systems used in Fiat models are justified", a Reuters source said.

"The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA)", the Commission said in a statement. Rome has two months to respond to the Commission's request and may be eventually taken to the European Court of Justice if the answer is found to be unconvincing.

The Commission has been mediating a dispute between Rome and Berlin after Germany accused Fiat Chrysler of using an illegal device in diesel versions of its Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep Renegade models.

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In February, FCA said it had received requests for information and subpoenas from USA federal and state authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, for diesel issues.

Italy is the eighth country the European Union has accused of improperly regulating the software devices, joining the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom. That mediation ended in March.

EU officials have become significantly frustrated with what they see as governments conspiring with the powerful auto market and the legal move is the biggest stick the European Commission has available to require countries to clamp down on diesel vehicles that gush out polluting nitrogen oxide (NOx).

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The original complaint came from Germany which along with the Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain and Britain has been accused of failing to police the vehicle industry adequately after the VW "dieselgate" scandal.

FCA still isn't able to sell its 2017 3.0-liter diesel vehicles and won't be able to until it can prove that the emissions software inside of them is all legal.

The bill, approved on 4 April, will give the European Commission new powers to police manufacturers and allow it to fine companies up to €30,000 per vehicle if they are caught breaking the law.

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