Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV suppliers were aware of the automaker's alleged illegal use of software to pass emissions tests in 2010, Bloomberg reported May 18, citing emails disclosed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to the report, Fiat Chrysler is facing a class-action lawsuit that alleges it misled buyers of its Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram 1500 pickups by highlighting the fuel economy and performance of its EcoDiesel engine while using defeat devices on emissions test to secure regulatory approval. The carmaker has reportedly denied the allegations.
The emails that were unveiled in the federal court suggest that Fiat Chrysler wanted to use software in its diesel engines that has a "cycle detection" capability, which can reportedly sense when the vehicle is going through an emissions test and can activate controls to pass the evaluation.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler said, "It is inappropriate to draw conclusions from isolated communications and internal deliberations, without the more detailed context that is part of the reviews FCA is conducting as part of the investigation process."
The report comes over a month after the company was reported to be nearing a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, over its alleged cheating in emissions tests.
The issue came to light when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CARB alleged in January 2017 that Fiat Chrysler violated clean-air laws through its alleged use of emissions software in some of its diesel-powered vehicles, Bloomberg reported.
German carmaker Volkswagen AG has also been embroiled in a diesel emissions scandal after it admitted in 2015 that it equipped 11 million cars with a software designed to switch on vehicle emissions control systems during testing and off during real-world driving.
As of April, Volkswagen reportedly had spent more than $25 billion in the U.S. to address claims from owners, car dealers and other groups that were affected by the issue.