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Fiat Chrysler cheated on diesel emissions, EPA says

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NEW YORK — Environmental regulators accused automaker Fiat Chrysler of installing software on 100,000 diesel-powered cars and trucks that allowed it to cheat on emissions tests.

The accusation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is similar to the scandal that has plagued automaker Volkswagen for more than a year.

Just this week, Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle charges it cheated on diesel emissions tests with more than 590,000 diesel-powered U.S. cars. The Justice Department also indicted six executives of Volkswagen Wednesday.

“This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA. “When companies break the law, Americans depend on the EPA to step in and enforce.”

“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” said CARB Chair Mary Nichols. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

The vehicles cited include 2014, 2015 and 2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees SUVs and and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3-liter diesel engines.

Fiat Chrysler said it believes its emission control systems meet the applicable regulations and that it has proposed a number of steps that could be taken to address EPA’s concerns.

“FCA intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” it said.

Still Fiat Chrysler shares were down 12% on the news.