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Judge sentences Stellantis unit to pay $300 million in emissions test cheating case

Stellantis unit ordered to pay in cheating case

A federal judge on Monday sentenced the U.S. division of Stellantis to pay $300 million in penalties and forfeitures for cheating on government emissions testing on “clean EcoDiesel” for Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Ram 1500 pickup trucks.

FCA U.S. pleaded guilty to the criminal conspiracy charge in June. It was the second guilty plea for federal criminal conduct by the company in as many years for actions taken before parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ merger with French automaker Groupe PSA, which created Stellantis last year.

As federal standards have become more stringent, automakers face the pressure of reducing emissions of internal combustion engine vehicles and transitioning to zero-emission vehicles or else pay millions of dollars in fines or for credits from competitors like electric vehicle maker Tesla. Stellantis in the first half of 2022 paid $678 million in penalties following an adjustment to Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations earlier this year.

FCA’s settlement for the emissions cheating includes a nearly $204 million forfeiture from the sold models on which it had cheated on the tests and an additional penalty of more than $96 million. The company also is subject to three years of probation and is required to cooperate in the government’s further investigation into the matter.

“The company accepts responsibility and regrets the conduct that resulted in this plea agreement,” said Christopher Pardi, general counsel for FCA in North America.

— Detroit News

W.Va. governments settle opioid claims

West Virginia’s cities and counties reached a $400 million opioid settlement with drug distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) said Monday.

The settlement resolves allegations by more than 100 cities and counties that the three drug distributors fueled an opioid crisis by oversupplying West Virginia with pain medication, and builds on the companies’ previous settlements with the state attorney general’s office.

“I’m happy to see the judicial system work as it should by benefiting West Virginia communities that have been hit hard by opioid abuse,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This settlement, along with other settlements from other cases, will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in West Virginia.”

Cardinal Health said in a statement that the settlement will provide money to West Virginia communities in need, and that it remains committed to being “a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic.”

— Reuters

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed less than expected last month and there were signs that supply constraints are easing, with a measure of prices paid for inputs by factories falling to a two-year low, suggesting inflation has probably peaked. While the Institute for Supply Management survey on Monday showed a measure of factory employment contracting for a third month, the ISM noted that "companies continue to hire at strong rates."

Amazon has started delivering items from brick-and-mortar stores in a dozen U.S. metro areas, the e-commerce giant's latest effort to make more products available for speedy delivery. The company's initial partners are Diesel, PacSun, GNC and SuperDry, Amazon said Monday. Bloomberg News in May reported that Amazon was testing the service, which uses the company's gig-economy Flex drivers to retrieve and deliver orders. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Amazon Prime members in parts of select cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, will see items from participating retailers listed on the Amazon website and app.

Valvoline is selling its unit that makes lubricants, coolants and other automotive products to state-owned Saudi Aramco for $2.65 billion in cash to sharpen focus on its retail services business. The deal announced Monday builds on the company's plan to separate the two units, with the sale proceeds set to fuel an expansion of the vehicle service center business Valvoline operates across the United States. For Aramco, it deepens a bet on the long-term demand for petrochemicals.

— From news services