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Lawyers for VW owners investigate potential claims against Fiat

Lawyers for Volkswagen owners in the UK now consider potential legal action against Fiat Chrysler over allegations of using defeat devices

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Lawyers acting for Volkswagen owners in the UK over allegations of falsifying emissions have said they are considering potential legal action against Fiat Chrysler in England and Wales. This follows the US government announcing that they are taking legal action against the French car firm alleging that Fiat sold vehicles with "defeat devices" that helped them pass emissions tests.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) in the United States filed the complaint on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

They claim that the car firm did not disclose the emissions control software to regulators, enabling vehicles to produce lower emissions during roadworthiness tests than they did when used under normal driving conditions. 

In a statement Fiat Chrysler spokesman, Eric Mayne, said the firm would defend itself "particularly against any claims that the company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat US emissions tests". 

The EPA alleges the software features were installed in about 104,000 Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles sold in the US. In March a French prosecutor announced an investigation had been opened into the potential use of emissions cheat software used by Fiat in Europe.

The BBC has reported that the UK Department for Transport is testing the emissions of Fiat’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.

According to the New York Times, researchers from the University of the Ruhr in Bochum, Germany, and the University of California, San Diego, said they found evidence of a defeat device in a diesel Fiat 500X sold across Europe.

According to the newspaper Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on allegations of cheating in the 500X.

Last week the European Commission accused the Italian government of allowing Fiat Chrysler to sell cars designed to evade emissions tests, similar infringement procedures by the European Commission have been launched against seven other nations, including the UK.

Chris Haan, a lawyer in the Consumer law and product safety team at law firm Leigh Day who are representing UK Volkswagen owners said: “Consumers expect to be sold vehicles that at least meet minimum legal emissions requirements. If the allegations against Fiat are correct, then affected Fiat consumers may be entitled to compensation, just like Volkswagen consumers.”

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