Fiat Chrysler Gets Hit with Record-Breaking $105 Million Fine
In their biggest crackdown on automotive safety yet, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) imposed a record-breaking penalty of $105 million against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for failing to complete safety recalls for issues affecting over 11 million vehicles. The civil penalty is the biggest ever dished-out by the NHTSA on any automaker for recall violations, and represents Fiat Chrysler’s inability to complete a total of 23 separate recalls that date back to 2009.
“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” said Mark R. Rosekind, administrator of the NHTSA since last December.
If you’re planning to pursue an automotive career, read on for more details regarding the fine, as well as some of the models that are affected by the recalls.
A Look at the Terms That The Auto Company has Agreed To
During a public hearing, federal officials stated that Fiat Chrysler had repeatedly failed to notify consumers of recalls. If the public was aware of the potential safety issues, they would have had ample time to see a service advisor for repairs.
The $150 million fine also includes a $70 million cash payment and an agreement that the automaker will spend $20 million on making improvements to its recall process. An additional $15 million will be paid if the automaker is found to have committed any further violations. The NHTSA will also be closely monitoring Fiat Chrysler’s safety practices over the next three years, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the company’s recall procedures.
The automaker seems to have taken the penalty with humility, as a representative stated “we also accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us.”
The Car Models Affected by the Recent Recalls
The recalled vehicles include Dodge Ram, Dodge Dakota and Chrysler Aspen trucks from model years as early as 2008. More than 500,000 of these vehicles have faulty suspension parts that can cause a driver to lose control on the road.
Fiat Chrysler is also recalling 1.59 million Jeeps equipped with rear-mounted gas tanks, which can easily catch fire in collisions. As a solution, the company will install trailer hitches on the affected Jeeps in order to soften the impact of rear-end collisions. Jeep owners will have the option to trade-in their vehicle for above market value, or receive an unspecified payment from Fiat Chrysler to install a trailer hitch.
The automaker has announced several new recalls since the hearing, including one for 1.4 million vehicles whose systems are vulnerable to computer hackers.
Auto pros know that mass recall repairs generally take place at dealerships, or garages authorized to perform repairs for the company. Such recalls can have a positive effect on the automotive repair career outlook, since the need to repair many vehicles will likely boost business for authorized repair sites, encouraging them to hire more workers.
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