European Union Launches Legal Action Against Italy Over Fiat Chrysler Emissions Scandal

European Union Launches Legal Action Against Italy Over Fiat Chrysler Emissions Scandal

The legal procedure could send the Italian government to court as the European Union cracks down on countries and automakers for the burgeoning scandal over diesel vehicle emissions; and for failure to accurately test and evaluate vehicle emissions overall in Europe. The Commission said Italy had to respond to concerns FCA had not justified the technical necessity - and thus the legality - of a device used, and had to clarify whether it has failed to adopt corrective measures and impose penalties on the vehicle manufacturer.

Italy has 2 months to reply to the Commission's demand and might be ultimately taken to the European Court of Justice if the response is found to be unconvincing.

Italy now has two months to respond to the request.

A second report, published officially, did not mention any fraud at FCA, while the United States, Canada and France initiated investigations into the company following their tests to determine whether FCA is illegally using emission control software.

In February, FCA said it had received requests for information and subpoenas from USA federal and state authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, for diesel issues.

The European Commission had been mediating the dispute Germany and Italy, which ended in March.

EU officials have become increasingly frustrated with what they see as governments colluding with the powerful auto industry and the legal move is the biggest stick the European Commission has available to force nations to clamp down on diesel cars that spew out polluting nitrogen oxide (NOx).

Last December, the Commission launched cases against five nations, including Germany, Britain and Spain, for failing to police the vehicle industry adequately.

Day-to-day regulation of the auto sector, including approving new vehicle models for the road, remains under the authority of national governments.

Under EU law, only national transport departments have the authority to approve new models, even if those models can then be sold to all 28 EU countries without further testing or approvals.

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