The European Union plans to launch legal action against Italy for failing to properly police allegations of emissions-test cheating by Fiat Chrysler following the Volkswagen scandal, EU sources said.
EU regulators say Italy has failed to convince them that the so-called defeat devices used to modulate emissions on its vehicles outside of narrow testing conditions are justified. "The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA)," a statement said.
Italy has two months to respond to the Commission's request and may be eventually taken to the European Court of Justice if the answer is found to be unconvincing.
Italian Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said he was disappointed that the EU had decided on legal action. Italian authorities had from start ruled out the presence of any cheating devices at the carmaker, he said.
Under current EU law, infringement proceedings remain the Commission's only tool to fight auto makers in the wake of the scandal.
Day-to-day regulation of the auto sector, including approving new car models for the road, remains under the authority of national governments.
Last December, the Commission launched cases against five nations, including Germany, Britain and Spain, for failing to police the car industry adequately.
The action against FCA will be the first step in EU infringement procedures, designed to ensure the bloc's 28 member states abide by EU-wide regulations. If member states fail to respond convincingly, Brussels can take them to the EU court in Luxembourg.
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