New York, January 12 - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday notified Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) that it had broken the Clear Air Act over diesel emissions from around 140,000 vehicles, the EPA announced, stressing that FCA may face civil sanctions and prompting FCA chief Sergio Marchionne to say that no one would be so "stupid" as to have fitted such software. The vehicles mounted with software that allegedly allowed above-limit diesel emissions are Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram, the EPA said. FCA shares dived 15% on the news and were suspended from trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles "dodged the rules" on diesel emissions and "has been found out", the EPA said. By not communicating the existence of software affecting emissions, FCA was guilty, it said, of "a serious violation of the law." The EPA said "all carmakers must play by the same rules" and said "once again, a carmaker has taken a decision to get around the rules". EPA and California authorities "worked to to boost tests after the Volkswagen case, and this is the result of their collaboration". FCA US said it had respected the rules and was ready to work with authorities on the case. FCA US said it believed "its emissions control systems respect the applicable norms" and it was ready to collaborate with the new administration "to present its arguments and resolve the question in a correct and fair way, reassuring the EPA and FCA US customers on the fact that the company's diesel vehicles respect all the applicable norms". FCA US said it "strongly hoped to be able to meet the EPA's enforcement division as soon as possible and representatives of the new administration, to show that FCA's (emissions) control strategies are justified and therefore do not constitute defeat devices according to the applicable rules, and to promptly resolve the question." There is nothing in common between the Volkswagen emissions case and that of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told a press conference. "We have been talking to EPA for more than a year," Marchionne said. Marchionne said it was odd and "unpleasant" that the EPA had decided to address the alleged case of emissions violations so publicly. He said FCA had been notified Wednesday by authorities that something was in the offing, and had found out Thursday morning at 8 a.m. that the EPA was accusing it of breaking diesel emissions norms. Marchionne said that "as far as I know this company, I can say that no one is so stupid" as to try to fit illegal software to dodge emissions limits. Marchionne went on to say that FCA will survive even if it is fined $4.6 billion as some sources reported. Stressing that the US Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency probably worked together on the case, Marchionne said he was very angry, according to Bloomberg News. FCA US could face a sanction of up to $4.63 billion for allegedly breaking the US emissions rules, CNBC reported.
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