July 17, 2017—Fiat Chrysler resumed making diesel Ram pickups that were ordered off the market by U.S. regulators, preparing for a verdict from the Environmental Protection Agency in hopes of being able to sell them, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The carmaker began building a small number of the Ram trucks again this month, a spokesman said. The EPA is close to deciding whether or not to approve the pickups and the diesel-powered Jeep sport utility vehicle for sale as 2017 models, two people familiar with the matter said.
At stake is both the fate of the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup in the U.S. and a broader indication of whether regulators are inclined to treat diesel-powered engines as viable. The EPA and the California Air Resources Board have ratcheted up scrutiny of the powertrains in the wake of Volkswagen AG's emissions software scandal dating back to 2015. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Fiat Chrysler in May, accusing the company of similar cheating.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been adamant that the company wasn't trying to deceive regulators or circumvent clean-air rules. He's said the EPA changed its process for documentation of software that allows for excess emissions in certain circumstances to protect the engine.
Fiat Chrysler filed in May for certification of the 2017 model year vehicles following months of discussions over emissions-control software. The company's proposed fix fell short of staving off the Justice Department lawsuit days later that alleged the diesel engines had been outfitted with illegal software.
The EPA will decide whether Fiat Chrysler's proposed system is adequate in the near future, said the people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. An EPA spokesperson said the agency doesn't comment on certification applications prior to vehicles being introduced for sale.