Regulators are approving software changes that will allow Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 to meet emissions standards without any degradation in fuel economy or performance, the company reports.

The certification by the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board permits the sale of FCA’s ’17 Ram 1500 pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The announcement comes seven months after the agencies cited the vehicles for emissions violations, preventing new models from being sold. Some 104,000 vehicles were affected dating back to the ’14 model year.  

“The approvals announced today represent a significant step toward resolving the issues raised by EPA and ARB,” says CEO Sergio Marchionne. “We appreciate the efforts of the agencies in working with us to achieve this milestone. We are anxious to build on this progress to make appropriate updates to the emissions control software in our earlier model-year vehicles.”

FCA in May announced it was filing for certification after collaborating with the EPA and CARB to resolve the issue via a software update. The modifications require no hardware changes and the Auburn Hills-based automaker says in a statement it expects the “modified calibrations will have no effect on the stated fuel economy or the performance of these vehicles.”

The 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 was a Wards 10 Best Engines winner in 2014, 2015 and 2016, cited for its power, refinement and fuel efficiency.

The engine was developed in 2008-2009 by Italy’s VM Motori (which FCA now owns) and previously had been installed in European-market Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler 300Cs (known there as Lancia Themas) and even some Maserati sedans.

The EPA issued its notice of violation following enhanced testing of diesel vehicles dating back to September 2015 when German automaker Volkswagen was found to have installed defeat devices on its passenger-car diesels in a deliberate effort to avoid detection of the vehicles’ failure to meet diesel emissions standards.

The EPA and CARB on Thursday approved hardware and software changes that will permit certification of 326,000 Volkswagen diesel cars. That fix is expected to reduce vehicle fuel economy by as much as 2 mpg (0.87 km/L).

bgritzinger@wardsauto.com @bobgritzinger