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Harcus Parker is fighting to secure compensation for Fiat-Chrysler car owners who feel let down in circumstances where their vehicles were fitted with unlawful defeat devices allowing them to cheat emissions tests.

What has happened?

In 2014 Fiat and Chrysler merged to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V (“Fiat-Chrysler”). In so doing it became the eighth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. The group comprises Abarth, Alpha Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Mopar, and RAM.

Since 2015 a number independent tests by both US and French authorities has found irregularities in this combined fleet.

Fiat-Chryslers are type approved in Italy. In 2017 the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to these cars.

In 2019 Fiat-Chrysler entered a multi-billion dollar settlement with US authorities for alleged breaches of the Clean Air Act. More than 100,000 vehicles were recalled, and the manufacturer set aside millions of dollars for consumer redress and software ‘fixes’. It is estimated that the total cost to Fiat-Chrysler in the US as a result of these alleged breaches is $800 million.

In January 2020, a Dutch road authority ruled that the Jeep Grand Cherokee breaks emissions rules and must be fixed or face a ban on sales across Europe. It is unknown if the Jeep Wrangler is similarly affected. German, Italian and UK authorities have also indicated they are investigating emissions irregularities in Fiat-Chrysler vehicles.

Fiat has argued that they have used thermal windows in order to “guarantee a stable combustion pattern and to avoid damage to the EGR [engine gas recirculation] components and the particulate filter. Following the CJEU judgment it is likely this will amount to an impermissible defeat device. Read about the CJEU decision here.

Click here to read further about emissions claims

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The scandal in numbers

600,000

Fiat vehicles reportedly affected throughout Europe

100,000

Vehicles voluntarily recalled in USA for excessive NOx emissions

$800m

Paid by US arm of manufacturer to settle emissions cheating claims in respect of vehicles with EcoDiesel 3.0 L engines

15

Factors by which Jeep Grand Cherokee found to exceed regulated emissions limits

Can I join?

According to the German probe into the manufacturer, Euro 5 and 6 Alfa, Fiat and Jeep vehicles using the following “Family B” engines have been particularly implicated:

1,3l Multijet, 1,6l Multijet, and 2,0l Multijet

In addition, the following commercial vehicle engines have been implicated:

110 Multijet F1AE3481G, 115 Multijet 250A1000, 150 Multijet F1AE3481D, and 180 Multijet F1CE3481E.

Particular models include:

Fiat 500X
Fiat Ducato
Fiat Panda
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Various jeep cars

However, anybody who bought a Euro 5 or Euro 6 diesel Fiat-Chrysler vehicle in England or Wales manufactured between 2009 and 2018 can apply to join the claim. If you bought or leased an affected vehicle in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can still join a claim, but it will be handled slightly differently.

The litigation will be free at the point of use. Harcus Parker will act on a no-win, no-fee basis, and will pay any third-party costs which are necessary in order to progress the claims to trial.

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CAMPAIGN TERMINOLOGY

NOx contains both Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. NOx is emitted when fossil fuels are burnt, but not completely combusted. Diesel engines are not 100% efficient, meaning that their exhaust emissions contain NOx, as well as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and air pollutants such as particulate matter. NOx worsens air quality and has adverse health effects including contributing to respiratory problems and cancer. Diesel cars are one of the main causes of pollution in our air.

These allow cars to turn down their emissions control system outside the emissions testing environment i.e. when the cars are driven in the real world. Not all defeat devices are cheating devices – some are allowed by regulations. However, in many cases they are used by manufacturers to give the appearance that their diesel vehicles pass emissions tests, when in fact they do not.

The term used to describe the emissions scandal which broke when the German car maker, VW, admitted to fitting more than 11 million of their VW cars with unlawful defeat devices leading to the first major emissions class action lawsuit in the United States.

We use this term to cover both owners of cars, and people who leased their cars.

A senior court of England and Wales dealing with high value and high importance non-criminal matters. This court ruled that it will be bound by findings of the KBA (the German motor authority) that defeat devices are present.

Have you been affected? Are you eligible to claim?