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Fiat Chrysler recalls 862,520 vehicles in US after emissions testing

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will voluntarily recall 862,520 vehicles in the United States after they failed to meet emissions standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced March 13.

The vehicles went through routine in-use emissions investigations conducted by the EPA and in-use testing conducted by Fiat Chrysler as required by EPA regulations, the agency said in a news release.

To sell vehicles in the U.S., automakers must certify that their vehicles will meet emissions standards, and in-use testing occurs after the vehicles have already been certified and are in use by the customer.

Fiat Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told S&P Global Market Intelligence that this recall has no safety implications.

"This issue was discovered by FCA during routine in-use emissions testing and reported to the agency," Mayne said in an email. "We began contacting affected customers last month to advise them of the needed repairs, which will be provided at no charge."

The recall will be implemented in phases during 2019, with the oldest vehicles first to receive replacement components, specifically to the catalytic converter, according to the EPA.

"Owners of affected vehicles will receive notification from FCA when parts are available for them to bring their vehicle in to be repaired, and owners can continue to drive their vehicles in the meantime," the EPA said.

Fiat Chrysler vehicle owners who live in locations that require inspection and maintenance may need to have the recall performed before the inspection, the agency added.

The agency said the following vehicles are impacted: 2011-2016 Dodge Journey SUVs, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200 cars, 2011-2014 Dodge Avenger cars, 2011-2012 Dodge Caliber cars, 2011-2016 Jeep Compass SUVs and 2011-2016 Jeep Patriot SUVs.

The EPA later updated its new release, noting that the agency and automakers test vehicles that are between one and four years old to look for potential defects that could lead to emissions.

The EPA tests approximately 150 vehicles each year, and all auto manufacturers combined test approximately 2,000 vehicles each year. Approximately 4% of vehicles tested show higher-than-expected emissions, which can lead to a recall, the EPA said. In 2017, there were 85 emissions-related recalls that included a total of 5.3 million vehicles.

Shares of Fiat Chrysler were down 1.14% at $14.33 on March 13.

In January, Fiat Chrysler announced that it would pay $800 million in fines and compensation after reaching settlements on lawsuits brought against it by U.S. government authorities and customers over understated exhaust emissions figures in certain diesel models.