Fiat Chrysler, the EPA, and Diesel Engines

The EPA has decided to accuse Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of using software to cheat on diesel emission limits during tests, sort of reminiscent of Volkswagen’s peccadillo.

The problem for the EPA, though, is that

the EPA is not yet accusing Fiat Chrysler of installing illegal software patches on its diesel engines, but of failing to disclose potentially legal ones.

Never mind that if the software is legal, there’s nothing to disclose.  Not to fear, though, the problem with Fiat Chrysler is that

[i]t’s the company’s finances that make it vulnerable.

The company in the hole with a debt pile of some €6.5 billion ($6.9 billion) as of last September.  And the EPA knows that.

With any other agency, this might be a legitimate beef.  With this EPA, though, it smacks of legal blackmail.  “Nice business you got there; be too bad if something were to happen to it.  I know you’re short of cash; maybe there’s something we can do for each other to help you out.”

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