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Chrysler must recall trucks to avoid emissions lawsuit
Original source: Driving

The U.S. Justice Department has offered to settle its emissions-cheating lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV if the automaker recalls 104,000 vehicles and pays a substantial but unspecified civil penalty.

The proposed framework of an offer was extended to the Italian-American car company late January and included steps it would have to take to mitigate its past pollution and make internal changes to prevent future violations of environmental rules, according to a copy of the settlement offer obtained by Bloomberg News.

The settlement “must include very substantial civil penalties” large enough to deter future violations and that “adequately reflect the seriousness of the conduct that led to these violations,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in a Jan. 27 letter to Fiat Chrysler attorneys. Spokesmen for the company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Reaching a final settlement would resolve civil violations of clean-air regulations laid out in a complaint filed May 23. The Justice Department said Fiat Chrysler had used illegal software to pass laboratory emissions tests while permitting its diesel vehicles to exceed pollution standards while on the road. The proposed settlement doesn’t include an end to a criminal investigation into the automaker by the Justice Department related to diesel emissions.

The civil complaint was filed in federal court on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board and alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. “We are engaging in conversations but I’m not involved in the settlement talks,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said early February at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance event in Palo Alto. “It’s interesting that Fiat Chrysler has the same team of lawyers representing them that worked with VW.”

Fiat Chrysler has acknowledged in a term sheet the company earlier submitted to the government lawyers the need for a settlement to include civil penalties, an emissions fix for the diesel vehicles and environmental mitigation efforts, the letter said. Fiat Chrysler proposed committing to projects to promote low- or zero-emissions “mo.......

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