NHTSA Scrutiny on FCA Recall Efforts Intensifies
Agency Schedules Rare Public Hearing, $35 Million Fine Possible
After almost two years since the initial spat between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Chrysler over the recall involving the fuel tank on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models, you’d think the matter would be behind them, but now, nearly two years later, the agency is once again criticizing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for not acting fast enough on taking care of recall repairs, Bloomberg reports. On Monday, May 18, the agency requested more documents from FCA, as well as scheduling an unusual public hearing on the matter for July 2. FCA has until June 1 to provide NHTSA with the requested documents or face fines of up to $7,000 a day for non-compliance.
According to NHTSA records, only 3.9 percent of the 1.56 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUV models had been repaired by September 2014. As of March 2015 that total had increased to 20.6 percent, but the agency is still not satisfied with the rate of repairs. The Grand Cherokee and Liberty recall is just one of 20 that the agency is focusing on, among others involving airbags, ignition switch issues, alternator failure, and steering. NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said the agency is still getting reports of headliner fabric fires in Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee models even after the recall repairs have been made. FCA could face a maximum cumulative fine of up to $35 million for non-compliance.