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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Fiat Chrysler is denying government charges that some of its diesel vehicles violate federal clean air standards.

CEO of Fiat Chrysler Sergio Marchionne saying the allegations are a surprise to him – calling it “absolute nonsense,” reports WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert.

“There was never any intent … of creating conditions that were designed to defeat the testing process,” he says.

The comparison to the issues VW is facing regarding deceptive emissions testing is one Marchionne refuses to make. “Anyone who draws a parallel between us and VW … is smoking illegal material.

“The way in which it has been described I think is unfair to us and that’s the thing that bothers me most.”

The U.S. government is accusing Fiat Chrysler of failing to disclose software in some of its pickups and SUVs with diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution than allowed under the Clean Air Act.

EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles saying emissions software on those vehicles were not disclosed. “Those software elements – not being disclosed in Fiat Chrysler’s required application for certification means that the vehicles were sold illegally.”

The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it had issued a “notice of violation” to the company that covers about 104,000 vehicles including the 2014 through 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickups, all with 3-liter diesel engines. The California Air Resources Board took similar action.

Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that its emissions control systems “meet the applicable requirements.”

The company said it was disappointed with the EPA’s action and intends to work with the incoming Trump administration to present its case. Fiat Chrysler said it spent months giving information to the EPA to explain its emissions technology and proposed a number of actions including software changes to address the agency’s concerns.

Fiat Chrysler’s shares fell more than 16 percent after the news was announced to $9.29.

If the company is found guilty of this charge they could face huge penalties.

Marchionne says the company will work with the new administration to show they are compliant with all EPA standards.

 

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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