In a nutshell, the EPA is saying the Fiat Chrysler put the software in the affected vehicles to enable them to operate in a different fashion during emissions tests than when they are in normal operation. This, the agency alleges, allows the vehicles to pass the tests and then emit nitrogen oxides at illegal levels once they get back on the road.
While the agency did not specifically state that Fiat Chrysler used a “cheat device” like Volkswagen allegedly did, the description of the software is very similar. In that case, an estimated 600,000 vehicles were outfitted with software meant to “fool” emissions testing equipment.
Owners of the affected Fiat Chrysler vehicles may ultimately see those vehicles decrease in value due to the allegations. In addition, it is possible that repairs of the vehicles will be needed in order to bring their emissions levels within legal requirements. While this could lead to substantial expenses, there may be a way owners can fight back.