Less than 24 hours ago, Fiat Chrysler was anticipating hitting its 2018 financial targets. On Thursday, the automaker came under fire from the EPA, per Reuters, with the agency alleging Fiat Chrysler cheated on diesel emissions—just a day after six Volkswagen honchos were indicted in that company's own scandal. In Fiat Chrysler's case, the EPA—which was to announce its findings in a Thursday morning conference call—believes the automaker's software permitted emissions beyond what's allowed by the law, in more than 100,000 SUVs and trucks sold since 2014. This reported violation "can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe," an EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance tells the AP.
USA Today reports that the EPA has the ability to fine up to $44,539 for any vehicle that flouts the Clean Air Act, meaning Fiat Chrysler could have to cough up around $4.5 billion. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares were halted Thursday morning after the company's biggest intraday plummet since it began trading on the NYSE in 2014, with shares falling as much as 18% before settling at a 16% decline right before trading stopped just after 11am EST. Reuters' sources say Fiat Chrysler contests the EPA's take, but a statement offered by the automaker and cited on Bloomberg contends all of Fiat Chrysler's diesel vehicles meet "applicable regulatory requirements" and that the company will work with "the incoming administration to resolve this matter fairly and equitably." (Read more vehicle emissions stories.)