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FCA Issued $105 Million Penalty by NHTSA for Safety Recall Violations

Posted in News on July 27, 2015
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been hit with a record setting fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its delay in the execution of 23 vehicle safety recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. FCA has admitted to violating the Safety Act in three key areas; timely recall remedies, notifications to vehicle owners, and notifications to the NHTSA.

The consent order issued by the NHTSA states that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will have to take action to repair or remove the recalled vehicles from the road. The recall covers more that one million Jeeps that have a potential to burst into flames with the fuel tank being exposed behind the rear axle as well as over 500,000 Ram Trucks and SUVs that have steering defects that may cause steering loss and result in a crash.

The Fine handed town to FCA in the largest in NHTSA history which includes a civil $70 million cash penalty to be paid to the NHTSA and FCA must spend at least $20 million on completing recalls or vehicle buybacks. Another $15 million could be levied against FCA if the independent monitor discovers violations that defy the Safety Act or consent order.

The penalty from the NHTSA requires Fiat Chrysler to buy back or repair the following recalled vehicles:

Vehicle
2009 model year Chrysler Aspen
2009 model year Dodge Durango
2009-2012 model years Dodge Ram 1500
2009-2011 model years Dodge Dakota
Reason for recall (13V-038): To correct a defect that may cause the axle to lock. As a result, the driver may lose steering power and crash.
When: Feb. 6, 2013
Number: 278,229 vehicles

Vehicle
2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 4500
2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 5500
Reason for recall (13V-527): To fix a defect that may cause the driver to lose steering power and crash.
When: Nov. 6, 2013
Number: 36,710 vehicles

Vehicle
2008 model year Dodge Ram 1500
2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 2500
2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 3500
Reason for recall (13V-529): To repair and replace steering linkages that may cause the driver to lose steering power and crash.
When: Nov. 6, 2013
Number: 265,057 vehicles

In addition to the Trucks and SUVs listed above the 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJs and Liberty’s that were recalled earlier in 2013 to install a hitch to protect the fuel tank in a rear-end collision haven’t been completed in a timely enough fashion for the NHTSA. Now FCA is also offering an increase in trade-in allowance to be applied toward the purchase of another FCA product for those owners that would prefer buying a new Jeep rather that installation of the trailer hitch.

With FCA in hot water with government officials, they will be speeding up the recall process to stay in compliance with the consent order while an independent monitor supervises them. The independent monitor will remain in place for three years and will be subject to an additional year in the event that FCA US fails to stay in compliance.

Source: FCA US, NHTSA, Automotive News

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