In a statement, FCA corrects some erroneous reports regarding the scope of the NHTSA vehicle safety recall. FCA will still offer to repurchase vehicles encompassed in its three most recent recall campaigns—2008 through 2012 chassis cab, 2009 through 2011 light duty and 2008 through 2012 heavy duty Ram Trucks—if those vehicles weren’t previously fixed. Alternatively, owners can still keep these vehicles and have them repaired in accordance with the original recall.
It was initially reported that FCA would have to offer buybacks for over 500,000 vehicles that posed potential vehicle safety issues. Since our report was posted on Monday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has said that FCA is only obliged to buy back vehicles that haven’t yet been fixed. According to FCA estimates, more than 60 percent of the 500,00 recalled vehicles have already been repaired, leaving the total number of unrepaired vehicles at less than 220,000 vehicles.
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The events of this past weekend haven’t been kind to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). On Friday, FCA announced a 1.4 million vehicle recal
l after a Wired
report revealed it was possible to remote hack a Jeep with onboard tech similar to that found in certain FCA cars, trucks and SUVs. To make matters worse, word came yesterday that FCA would be hit with various penalties, including a record-setting fine, for its violations of federal vehicle safety
The fine could reach $105 million
if FCA fails to meet the conditions of the consent order issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Under the terms of the agreement, FCA will pay a $70 million dollar cash penalty to the NHTSA for vehicle safety violations and $20 million toward meeting performance requirements, as well as an additional $15 million if additional vehicle safety violations are uncovered within the next 3 years.
FCA’s $70 million NHTSA fine ties the record vehicle safety penalty set by Honda
in January for unreported safety issues over an 11-year period. As a condition of the consent order, an independent investigator will monitor FCA to determine whether the company is meeting minimum vehicle safety standards. In the meantime, $15 million will be held is escrow and returned to FCA if no additional violations are found within the 3-year period.
In addition, FCA is obliged to buy back more than 500,00 of its own vehicles, primarily Ram pickup trucks, with defective suspension parts, as well as offer recall repair incentives to customers. In a statement
, FCA acknowledged its violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act that requires automakers to repair defective vehicles and will “accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us.”
The civil penalty levied by the NHTSA culminates months into vehicle safety violations by FCA. In early June, the NHTSA held a public forum
in which officials criticized FCA for its handling of 23 vehicle safety recalls covering over 11 million vehicles. FCA’s recall violations include the slow manufacturing of replacement parts, misinforming vehicle owners and making it for them difficult to obtain vehicle service appointments, and failing to repair vehicle defects.
In short, FCA displayed a consistent pattern of neglect that deserved to be heavily sanctioned, according to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” Rosekind said. “This [consent order] will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”
is currently the largest violator of vehicle safety recall standards, they are by no means the only automaker to be sanctioned by the NHTSA. In addition to the aforementioned Honda recall fine, General Motors
was slapped with a $35 million fine in 2014 for failing to warn regulators of faulty ignition switches that have been linked to over 120 deaths. Last year alone, U.S. automakers set a dubious record when they recalled more than 64 million vehicles.
Image Credit: ST Business Desk