Fiat Chrysler Hit with Record $105M NHTSA Fine for Vehicle Recall Failures
August 9, 2015
Regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently imposed a $105 million fine on Fiat Chrysler, the single largest fine an automaker has been hit with in the history of the Administration.
According to the NHTSA, this fine is one part of the Consent Order Fiat Chrysler has agreed to after the company admitted to botching several vehicle equipment recalls and violating the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
Fiat Chrysler’s Failures Needlessly Risk Public Safety, NHTSA Explains
Among the serious mistakes made by officials at Fiat Chrysler were:
- Failing to notify the NHTSA about problems with certain suspension parts – These defective parts could prevent drivers from controlling vehicles, significantly increasing the risk of collision. About 500,000 vehicles are reportedly equipped with these parts.
- Failing to notify the NHTSA regarding problems impacting about 1 million Jeeps – These problems can reportedly cause “deadly vehicles fires.”
- Failing to issue “effective and timely recall remedies” for these problems
- Botching at least 23 recalls that affected at least 11 million vehicles.
As U.S. Secretary Anthony Foxx has noted in regards to the penalties for Fiat Chrysler:
[This] action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward… manufacturers [are] on notice that the Department will act when they do not take their obligations to repair safety defects seriously.
Fiat Chrysler’s Obligations Under the NHTSA Consent Order
While Fiat Chrysler has agreed to pay the massive NHTSA fine to make up for its past failures, as part of the Consent Order the company agreed to at the end of July, Fiat Chrysler will also be obligated to:
- Submit to “unprecedented oversight” for the next three years to ensure compliance with the Consent Order
- Retain a third-party, independent consultant to monitor compliance – This must be done with 30 days.
- Inform vehicle owners (of the impacted Jeeps) that they are eligible to have their vehicles bought back by the company or to receive a financial incentive to fix the problems that can cause deadly fires.
There are additional requirements Fiat Chrysler must comply with, and the NHTSA has warned that the automaker could face another $15 million in fines if it fails to live up to these obligations or if violates the Motor Vehicle Safety Act again.
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