The executive suggests there is "nothing in common between the VW reality" and the EPA's charges against FCA.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has lashed out against the Environmental Protection Agency after the company was charged with violating emissions regulations.

Speaking to reporters, the outspoken executive suggested the EPA's action is evidence of an "incredibly beliigerent" attack on the broader automotive industry, according to quotes published by USA Today.

"There is nothing in common between the VW reality and what we are describing here," he added, arguing that anyone accusing FCA of employing an emissions defeat device must be "smoking illegal material."

The EPA's allegations of Clean Air Act violations center around eight different auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) that were allegedly not disclosed in vehicles' certification applications.

AECDs are typically software-controlled algorithms that manage emissions control systems. Emissions-reduction hardware can be temporarily disabled if environmental or other conditions will cause excessive wear, such as during engine warmup or in extreme temperatures, but automakers must declare and justify all such provisions in their certification applications.

"The EPA has determined that, unless FCA can establish that the undisclosed AECDs qualify for one of the narrow exclusions provided under the applicable regulations, one or more of the AECDs ... would constitute defeat devices that reduce the effectiveness of the vehicles' emission control system," the agency wrote in its notice of violation.

FCA will be given a chance to prove the legality of its undeclared software algorithms, however the agency explicitly claims that some of the AECDs do not "appear justified for protecting the vehicle" and fail to "meet any of the other exceptions" in the defeat device regulatory definition. Getting more to the point, some of the AECDs "appear to cause the vehicle to perform differently when the vehicle is being tested" for emissions compliance.

"To date, despite having the opportunity to do so, FCA has failed to establish that these are not defeat devices," the EPA concluded.

Volkswagen was accused of intentionall developing software algorithms to trick emissions tests. The EPA's investigation into FCA appears to delve into a murkier debate over wether an unapproved AECD can be considered a de facto defeat device, even if it there may be no evidence of intentional conspiracy to circumvent emissions regulations.

The agency has not explained why it pulled the trigger on paperwork charges without first completing its investigation into defeat devices. The enforcement action was announced just one week before Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. Ahead of Marchionne's comments, FCA said it looked forward to working out the dispute with Trump's administration.