Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has agreed to a settlement worth about $800 million USA to resolve claims from the U.S. Justice Department and state of California that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests, according to court filings on Thursday.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that it "maintains its position that the Company did not engage in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat emissions tests".
Under the deal, the company will also need to pay about US$280 million to compensate vehicle owners - resulting in payouts of about US$2,800 per owner - as well as another US$72 million to settle claims made by other states, the person said.
The case, announced by the state Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board, is similar to the multibillion-dollar settlement made by Volkswagen over the use of the rogue software.
The settlement is the second between the USA government and an automaker over allegations of cheating on diesel emissions. The company also agreed to buy back some vehicles, fix others, pay to mitigate environmental harm and settle lawsuits for a cost of more than US$30 billion.
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The settlement marks the conclusion of a lawsuit first brought on by the Justice Department in 2017.
The affected vehicles are powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine.
However, under the terms of the settlement, no admission of guilt is required from Fiat Chrysler.
The Justice Department said the settlement does not resolve an ongoing criminal investigation into Fiat Chrysler's conduct. US officials refrained from accusing the vehicle manufacturer of intentionally creating software to cheat on emissions tests.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra added, "The company not only violated the law and our trust, but did so at the expense of our environment". Asked about the criminal case on Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler said it wouldn't comment on speculation. "Today's settlement sends a clear and strong signal to manufacturers and consumers alike - the Trump administration will vigorously enforce the nation's laws created to protect the environment and public health".
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