Federal Government monitoring Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo in Australia over diesel emissions cheat claims
THE Federal Government is monitoring more than 40,000 Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo cars sold locally for possible breaches of diesel emissions standards — after French prosecutors this week launched a probe into cars sold there.
The move to study the Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands locally follows the recall of close to 100,000 diesel-powered Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cars in Australia — and two Federal Court cases which allege Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cheated emissions regulations and misled consumers.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which enforces Australia’s vehicle standards, told News Corp: “The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is not currently undertaking a formal investigation of vehicles supplied to the Australia market by Fiat Chrysler Australia.
“The Department is aware of investigations being undertaken in Europe and the US over allegations that Fiat Chrysler vehicles have not complied with relevant emissions requirements.
“The Department is working with Fiat Chrysler Australia to identify whether the issues subject to investigation in Europe and the US are of any relevance to vehicles or engine options supplied to the Australian market.
“The Department will continue to monitor overseas investigations and take action within Australia where appropriate.”
Among the FCA group of brands, Jeep has sold the most number of diesel cars (36,000) ahead of Fiat (500), Alfa Romeo (2000) and Chrysler (2000) since 2009, according to figures obtained by News Corp Australia.
However, it is unclear if all diesel models sold in Australia are affected.
A representative for the Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands in Australia declined to comment on the diesel emissions allegations.
The Australian Automobile Association — the peak body representing 8 million members of motoring groups such as the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RACT, RAA, RAC and AANT — is currently conducting real-world emissions tests of 30 popular cars.
The AAA is two-thirds of the way through the list of cars but is yet to publish preliminary results.
News Corp Australia understands the AAA has to date not assessed a Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat or Alfa Romeo, however this may change in light of recent developments.
Earlier this week the Reuters news agency reported that a French prosecutor opened an investigation into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over allegations the carmaker cheated in diesel emissions tests.
“I can confirm that a judicial investigation has been opened into aggravated cheating,” the source told Reuters.
A Fiat spokesman in Europe said its diesel vehicles “fully comply” with emission regulations, “as confirmed by the Italian Transport Ministry”, the report said.
The spokesman said the company would work with authorities “on all investigations” and was confident the matter would be resolved.
Following emissions testing by French authorities Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot-Citroen — and the Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands — were referred for “possible prosecution by the consumer fraud agency”, the report said.
However Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles “were among those that recorded the highest NOx emissions under non-standard testing regimes designed to detect banned engine software cheats”, the report said.