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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could face billions of euros in fines from the French government if the automaker is found to have committed fraud by cheating on diesel emissions tests, the newspaper Le Monde reported.

Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Renault and PSA Group, are under investigation by French prosecutors after tests found that on-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions exceeded regulatory limits.

Fiat Chrysler's Fiat 500X and Jeep Cherokee emitted as much as 11 times the legal limit of NOx when tests were extended beyond their usual 20 minutes, suggesting the presence of banned software used to manipulate the official tests, according to findings by the French DGCCRF consumer fraud watchdog reported by Le Monde.

French prosecutors opened a formal investigation in March on the basis of the DGCCRF report.
 

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In May, the U.S. Justice Department sued Fiat Chrysler, accusing it of illegally using software that led to excess emissions in nearly 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles sold since 2014. It also faces numerous lawsuits from owners of those vehicles.

The European Union has also launched legal action against Italy for failing to properly police allegations of emissions-test cheating by Fiat Chrysler, following the VW scandal.
 
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