Fiat Chrysler in talks over potential diesel emissions settlement

A Jeep 3.0-liter, V-6 EcoDiesel engine on display at the Washington Auto Show in Jan. 22, 2015. Photo credit: REUTERS

Lawyers for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and owners of the automaker’s diesel-powered vehicles are in settlement talks over allegations of excess diesel emissions, a court-appointed adviser said Tuesday.

In May, the Justice Department sued Fiat Chrysler, accusing the company of illegally using software that led to excess emissions in nearly 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles sold since 2014. Numerous suits have been filed by vehicle owners.

Court settlement master Ken Feinberg said at a court hearing in San Francisco Tuesday that “term sheets” or proposed settlement documents have been exchanged between Fiat Chrysler and diesel owner lawyers.

Feinberg said the proposals were briefly discussed at a meeting Tuesday with the parties, along with the Justice Department, California Air Resources Board and German auto supplier Robert Bosch, which develops diesel vehicle systems, and has also been sued by diesel owners.

Feinberg said it was “a very healthy discussion on how we might get to yes.” He added he would hold a day of settlement talks in Washington between the Justice Department and Fiat Chrysler in January, along with another day of talks between the automaker, Bosch and diesel owners.

There are parallel talks between the Justice Department and Fiat Chrysler and the company and diesel owners aimed at reaching settlements.

“We’re looking for different substantive ways to secure an early comprehensive settlement,” Feinberg said, adding a settlement could occur before testing on vehicles is completed in March. “Everybody in good faith is certainly trying to figure out how we might achieve a comprehensive settlement.”


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