Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Cummins engines are preparing to fight a class-action lawsuit accusing them of cheating on diesel emissions tests.
Lawyers representing owners of older 2500 and 3500 Dodge Ram trucks filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit last year in a case similar to charges made by government agencies and attorneys against Volkswagen on diesel emissions cheating. In the suit against FCA and Cummins, which has made the engines for FCA, the companies are charged with having “conspired to knowingly deceive consumers and regulators of illegally high levels of diesel.”
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that it “does not believe that the claims brought against it are meritorious” and the company “will contest this lawsuit vigorously.”
Cummins said the lawsuit “has no merit.”
The class-action suit had charged the automaker and engine maker of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, and consumer-protection laws. The class-action lawsuit claims the companies intentionally mislead the public, concealing emissions levels and illegally selling noncompliant polluting vehicles.
The FCA and Cummins suit was filed by Seattle lawyer Steve Berman, who has been active in the litigation now surrounding VW. Berman said the emissions catalysts in the commercial pickup trucks are not durable and do not meet emission standards, and that at times emissions are nearly 10 times beyond legal limits.
The suit comes at a time with FCA and Cummins are facing another problem – a recall of Ram 2500 pickup trucks for emissions violations.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board have demanded a recall of 130,000 2013-2015 model year Ram 2500 pickup trucks with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines. The agencies said that moisture in the engine can lead to the deactivation of the selective catalyst reduction system, causing excess nitrogen oxide emissions, Cummins said.