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NHTSA fines Fiat Chrysler additional $70 million
January 05, 2016
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DETROIT: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $70 million for underreporting crash, death and injury data tied to its cars and trucks.

The hefty fine is yet another sign of the NHTSA more aggressively regulating automakers. In 2014, for example, the NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties, the highest annual penalty total in the agency’s 43-year history.

“Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement, and it’s also part of a manufacturer’s obligation to protect the safety of the traveling public,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We need FCA and other automakers to move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture, and when they fall short, we will continue to exercise our enforcement authority to set them on the right path.”

In a statement, FCA acknowledged that it can improve its response to NHTSA requests, but added that it failed to report certain incidents due to coding problems in its early warning reporting system that failed to recognize when reportable information was received or updated.

“FCA US accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance,” the statement read. “However, FCA US is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources.”

This new fine reflects an amended agreement reached in July under which FCA was fined $105 million and the company agreed to stricter NHTSA oversight.

Three civil penalties from that investigation now total $175 million, with $140 million due in cash and another $35 million in deferred penalties that will come due if the company fails to meet its obligations under the consent order.

The July penalty was for what the agency called the company’s poor track record with 23 recalls involving 11 million vehicles over several years.

The agency also ordered FCA to buy back nearly 200,000 Ram pickups and Dodge SUVs in a buyback program and agree to an independent monitor.

Thursday’s penalties against FCA also are similar to fines Honda agreed to pay earlier this year. In January, Honda agreed to pay a $70 million for failing to disclose more than 1,700 reports of deaths, injuries and other “early warning” information to NHTSA. At the time, that fine was the largest ever levied by NHTSA.

The fines against Honda and FCA were imposed because the reporting deficiencies are violations of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act.

Agencies

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