The world’s fifth largest automaker is reportedly set to plead guilty soon to end a multi-year investigation into its attempts to hide the amount of pollution caused by its diesel engines. According to Reuters, the US Department of Justice and Dodge parent company Stellantis could announce as early as next week that the automaker has agreed to pay $300 million to settle criminal fraud charges. Stellantis declined to comment on the report.
The Justice Department began investigating Stellantis around 2019 when the automaker recalled nearly 1 million vehicles in the US and Canada for failing to meet federal tailpipe emissions standards. Since last year, the agency has announced criminal charges for only three employees of Stellantis. The investigation involved approximately 100,000 Ram pickups and Jeep SUVs sold in the US.
The deal comes five years after Volkswagen pleaded guilty to its own emissions scandal. “Dieselgate” eventually saw the German automaker pay more than $20 billion in fines and legal settlements for installing pirated software designed to cheat the government’s emissions tests. Since then, sales of diesel vehicles in Europe and other parts of the world have fallen sharply.
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