TRENTON – New Jersey will receive $5.3 million from a multi-state settlement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Robert Bosch following allegations that the two companies violated consumer and environmental protection laws, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
The settlement stems from allegations that Fiat Chrysler equipped two model-year 2014-2016 Fiat Chrysler vehicles with an electronic emission control “defeat device” that would allow the vehicles to pass emissions testing but still release unlawful amounts of emissions when driven regularly. The vehicles equipped with the defeat device were the Ram 1500 diesel pick-up and the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel.
The allegations ranged over multiple states, including New Jersey. Approximately 1,500 of these vehicles were sold or leased in NJ, 1,300 of which were registered here.
The settlement with Robert Bosch resolved claims against the company for its role in the marketing, development and sale of defeat devices involving both Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen diesel vehicles, according to the Attorney General.
“In an effort to boost its vehicle sales, Fiat Chrysler deceived New Jersey consumers and put our air quality– and the health of New Jersey residents – at risk,” said Attorney General Grewal. “That’s exactly what our consumer fraud and environmental laws are designed to prevent, and so we’re holding Fiat and Bosch accountable. Automakers – and any other businesses for that matter – have a duty to be honest about the products they market, and to ensure that those products comply with the law. When companies ignore that responsibility, we will take action.”
The settlement comes after an almost two-year investigation over multiple states regarding the development, engineering, distribution, marketing and promotion of the 2014-2016 diesel Ram 1500 pick-up and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
An investigation into Robert Bosch found that the company supplied the electronic emissions control software to Volkswagen, which settled with New Jersey in 2017, after NJ sued Volkswagen for violating the state’s clean air statutes and defrauding customers.
It was determined that Robert Bosch was assisting with the implementation of the defeat software in an estimated 600,000 Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen vehicles over a 10-year period, 19,000 of which were sold or leased in NJ.
The investigation of both companies found the development and use of the defeat device unlawful and dangerous, emitting harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. The Attorney General noted that nitrogen oxides (or NOx) have been linked to health concerns, including multiple respiratory diseases.
Fiat Chrysler is required to pay a total of $72.5 million to 49 states by the settlement, $1.94 million of which will go to NJ. Robert Bosch will pay NJ and 49 other jurisdictions a total of $98.7 million; the company will pay NJ $3.39 million.
The settlement also stipulates that Fiat Chrysler must now:
- Eliminate the defeat device features from the relevant software through use of a software “flash fix.”
- Join with co-defendant Bosch in paying eligible owners who take their vehicle to an authorized dealer for software repair an average of $2,908 in restitution. (Lessees and former owners are eligible for approximately $990 in restitution)
- Provide eligible owners and lessees with extended warranties.
Under the settlement, Bosch is required to “maintain robust product compliance monitoring and refuse to accommodate requests for software development and programming that could result in the installation of emissions control defeat devices,” among other things.