The new claim – said to be the first in the UK – alleges that FCA committed fraud by manufacturing vehicles whose true diesel emissions far exceeded the limits imposed by EU and UK laws.
In 2019, FCA agreed to a settlement worth $800 million to resolve claims from the US Justice Department and the state of California relating to the use of illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Fiat Chrysler Ram 1500 pick-up trucks. However, in the settlement the company did not admit liability or wrongdoing.
Although IVECO vans and trucks are manufactured by CNH Industrial, a separate company to FCA, they are corporate siblings, as both are controlled by holding company Exor.
An IVECO spokeswoman’s only comment was that CNH Industrial was complying with the relevant authorities in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the UK.
According to PGMBM, authorities in Germany, Italy and Switzerland raided FCA offices, as well as those of truck maker CNH Industrial, seeking evidence.
PGMBM states that a defeat device detects when the engine is being tested and limits the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions produced to comply with regulatory standards, which would not be in effect in the course of normal road use by vehicle drivers. NOx is a significant factor in air pollution and respiratory conditions, particularly in young and vulnerable people. Higher emissions of NOx pollutants can cause an increase in fuel and maintenance costs, as well as impairing vehicle performance.
PGMBM estimate that half a million vehicles in England and Wales could be affected across FCA’s brand portfolio, which includes Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Suzuki and IVECO vehicles manufactured between 2008 and 2020.
The law firm has begun the suit on a no-win, no-fee basis, and is urging owners to join the suit.
The company has also brought a suit against Mercedes-Benz in relation to diesel emissions defeat devices in its diesel vans and cars manufactured between 2007-2018.