US to allege Fiat Chrysler cheated on emissions, according to AP sources

The U.S. government is accusing Fiat Chrysler of violating the Clean Air Act on some of its diesel engines, according to two people briefed on the case.

The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to release details and make an announcement regarding a "major automaker."

The EPA will issue a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler, but it wasn't clear exactly what the agency was alleging, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the formal announcement hasn't been made.

The announcement comes one day after Fiat competitor Volkswagen pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges related to widespread cheating involving emissions tests with its "Clean Diesel" line of vehicles. Six high-ranking VW executives have been charged in the scandal. VW agreed to pay a record$4.3 billion penalty for cheating on emissions tests.

Fiat Chrysler owns Dodge, Jeep and Ram Trucks, among other global brands. It offers diesel engines as an option on its best-selling Ram pickup and popular Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as other models.

FCA US issued this reponse to the EPA:

FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company's 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines.

FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company's diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.

FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA's regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.

FCA US has spent months providing voluminous information in response to requests from EPA and other governmental authorities and has sought to explain its emissions control technology to EPA representatives. FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA's concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.

FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA's enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US's emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not "defeat devices" under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously.

The Associated Press contributed to this report