Tensions rise as Italy rebuffs Germany’s Fiat emissions allegations

January 19, 2017

The diplomatic row between Italy and Germany has worsened, as Italy warns Germany that it should not give orders’ over FCA Group emissions allegations.  

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said last weekend that alleged emissions-breaking FCA Group vehicles should be recalled and taken off the roads.  

Italian Transport Minister Graziano Delrio rebutted on Monday: ‘You don't give orders to a sovereign nation like Italy,’ adding: ‘This is an inadmissible suggestion.  

Last year, Germany said that certain FCA Group vehicles, including the Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep Renegade, contained hidden software that allowed for excessive emissions from their diesel engines. German authorities said that the emissions controls turn off after 22 minutes, while the EU official emissions test lasts for 20 minutes.  

Further pressure was piled on FCA Group last week when the US Environmental Protection Agency accused FCA Group of manipulating emissions tests in its Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles and Ram 1500 pick-up trucks.  

FCA Group has denied any wrongdoing, and Italy has defended it, saying that tests they have conducted on Fiat Chrysler vehicles show they are compliant with regulations and contain no emissions-cheating devices. After Italy rejected Germany’s allegations last year, Berlin asked the European Commission to mediate the dispute. Last week, the European Commission called on Italy to provide proof against Germany’s allegations and on Monday, Italy dismissed the European Commission’s criticism that it was being deliberately resistant to respond.  

These sorts of disputes are exactly the ones the European Commission is hoping to resolve with its overhaul of the emissions-testing regime, in part due to concerns over vested interests of governments wanting to protect their national manufacturers. In the current system, national watchdogs approve new cars and have the exclusive power to police manufacturers within their jurisdiction, such as FCA Group in Italy. However, once approved by the one country, the vehicles can be sold across the European Union.

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