(Adds details, shares)
MILAN Feb 7 Fiat Chrysler said its
diesel vehicles were fully compliant with emissions requirements
after the French authorities referred the carmaker's case to
prosecutors as it has done with Volkswagen and
The Italian-American group had not yet been informed of the
facts behind the French allegations, a company spokesman said.
However, the company had already informed the French
authorities that the results of some of their tests did not
match those carried out by the Italian ministry of transport and
the carmaker itself.
The case is the latest headache for a major company in an
industry shaken by the "Dieselgate" scandal that has engulfed VW
since Sept. 2015.
French investigators have referred FCA for possible
prosecution over abnormal emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx)
pollutants from some of its diesel engines, the Paris government
said on Monday.
The French investigation showed emissions from Fiat Chrysler
models that were several times higher than regulatory limits,
the government said.
Pressure over FCA's emissions has been mounting after the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month accused
the carmaker of using hidden software to allow excessive diesel
emissions to go undetected.
Under the EU emissions testing regime, national watchdogs
approve new cars and have the exclusive power to police
manufacturers. Once approved in one country, vehicles can be
sold across the 28-nation bloc.
"As a result, we believe the French have limited recourse or
actions which could be taken," Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at
Evercore ISI said in a note.
The FCA spokesman said the carmaker had reservations about
tests carried out on a single vehicle sample and according to
testing methodologies it said were not provided for by current
regulations. He added FCA would cooperate with France and
remained confident the matter would be clarified in due course.
Milan-listed shares in Fiat Chrysler fell more than 5
percent at the start of trading on Tuesday, triggering an
automatic suspension due to excessive volatility. They later
recouped most of the losses and were trading 0.85 percent lower
at 1035 GMT.
The stock was partially helped by expectation that an
agreement over a separate emissions dispute between Germany and
Italy was within reach.
Tensions have arisen between Rome and Berlin after Germany
raised concerns over FCA's Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep
Renegade models, alleging that they were equipped with illegal
cheating software. FCA rejects the allegations.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, additional reporting by Alissa De
Carbonnel in Brussels)