Two divisions of newly formed car giant Stellantis face fraud charges in a sweeping investigation into the manipulation of diesel vehicles in emissions testing.
The automaker, established by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group earlier this year, said that a French court had charged its Peugeot and Citroen brands with consumer fraud.
The Peugeot probe concerns vehicles sold in the country from 2009 to 2015. French prosecutors, according to Reuters, found in a 2019 investigation that some vehicles emitted 10 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide.
Peugeot was reportedly ordered to pay $36 million to guarantee potential payouts in the case, while Citroen would need to guarantee more than $30 million in payouts.
A third Stellantis brand, FCA Italy, was directed to appear before the court next month as part of the same investigation.
Stellantis said its companies are assessing their defense options and that it believes its emissions systems met all requirements in place at the time.
The long-running investigation was sparked by the discovery of Volkswagen’s cheating on U.S. emissions tests in 2015. Another European carmaker, France’s Renault, was also charged in the probe this week.