Fiat Chrysler Admits to Missing Five Recall Deadlines

Automaker reveals mistakes in NHTSA filing.

by on Jun.05, 2015

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has been critical of Fiat Chrysler's handling of 20 recalls.

The relations between Fiat Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may becoming more tense after FCA revealed it missed five federally mandated recall deadlines in a document it submitted answering questions about a series of 20 recalls.

In an 18-page filing, which was in response to questions from federal safety officials, the automaker said it missed the 60-day requirement for notifying owners of new recalls five times.

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FCA said four times it missed the deadline by four days and once by 12 days. However, the maker also noted in the report that it has increased the number of investigators by 65%, created a biweekly executive campaign execution review team to oversee recalls and plans for a “review of the recall execution process to identify and measure additional improvement opportunities.”

By responding to the questions, Fiat Chrysler officials hoped NHTSA would cancel the public hearing scheduled on July 2 regarding the automaker’s handling of 20 recalls covering 10 million vehicles over the last 30 months.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said earlier the company was cooperating with federal safety officials in regard to 20 recalls involving 10 million vehicles.

“Our overall completion rate is nearly the best in the industry,” the automaker said in the document. “FCA US believes our approach to review and identify with NHTSA input and implement changes based on the (lessons learned) obviates the need for a hearing.”

(Feds finalize mandate ESC for heavy trucks, buses. For more, Click Here.)

No such luck, according to Mark Rosekind, NHTSA’s administrator.

“Twenty recalls are a problem — 10 million vehicles. There’s a pattern here of things we’re concerned about,” he told the Detroit News. “And they weren’t just little things — they were big things including major safety issues related to fire, door latches that could open up when people were driving. It’s not just, ‘Oh, they were late on something.’ If they didn’t start, it was late, it means all that time people are at risk. And they told us something different.”

(Click Here for the latest details on the Takata airbag recall efforts.)

The hearing will be a chance for witnesses from NHTSA, the automaker, and the public will be able to present evidence on Fiat Chrysler’s performance in each recall. If NHTSA determines, based on the hearing and other evidence, that the company has failed its legal obligations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the agency could order actions designed to improve the company’s performance, including the buy-back or replacement of affected vehicles.

The recalls in question cover vehicles dating back to 1993, including Dodge Ram pickups, and Chrysler Town and Country minivans, versions of the Grand Cherokee.

(To see more about the impact of an expected drop in gas prices will have, Click Here.)

Perhaps the highest-profile action is the 2013 recall of 1.56 million Jeep vehicles equipped with fuel tanks that could rupture and cause a fire. The automaker is involved in several lawsuits regarding the vehicles, which it insists is safe and met the criteria at the time. It said last month it had repaired about 21% of those vehicles.

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3 Responses to “Fiat Chrysler Admits to Missing Five Recall Deadlines”

  1. hi tr says:

    Lets face it, FCA is NOT into public safety. They have told the govt before, to go pound sand!
    Even hire the former govt head honco to lobby the agency and the then weak administrator gave it,(I think he is now working for the auto makers, not sure which one).
    It paints a Sad outlook for the auto buyer and the public in general when the public safety takes on the same importance to auto execs as to “where to eat lunch, which is not that important to them”.
    Congress is really the crook and criminal in this scenario.
    They keep gutting the agency and their budgets. Plus they are loyal to their lobbyists, not this country safety, per se.
    There is a bad stink coming from our elected and appointed officials in Washington, today. Something is Rotten.
    New to vote them ALL OUT and get rid of the appointed ones.
    Plus do away with all their pensions, period!

  2. Jorge says:

    The safety issues have existed for decades but it’s just now catching up to auto makers because of NHTSA imposing questionable fines on Toyota. Then with GM’s ignition issue (Ford has had one for years also which was primarily ignored…), and resulting deaths or injuries, finally the auto industry is starting to properly police itself.

    It should be obvious that these massive recalls of multiple safety defect issues for existing millions of vehicles on roadways are a major task to correct. Reporting the issues is only one aspect of a recall, engineering and producing a suitable “fix” for each defect does take time. NHTSA needs to be level handed in all cases and not expect a car maker to produce a magic wand to make the problem disappear.

    Future safety defects however should be discouraged by higher financial penalty and personal accountability by the corporate CEO. That is the only way shoddy products will be reduced and the public’s safety improved.

    Unfortunately NHTSA has nor displayed a level hand in punishing auto makers in the past or present so FCA could be improperly singled out just as Toyota was because of false claims of unintended acceleration that never existed. Some folks try to alleged the excessive fines were for Toyota being dishonest but I have never seen the proof this is what the excessive fines were for.

    Naturally the vultures have been circling GM since the ignition switch defect was confirmed because this is how bottom ers become instant millionaires by misrepresenting the facts in court to a technically ignorant and gullible jury who thinks someone pouring hot coffee on their crotch is McD’s responsibility to reward these irresponsible people so they become instant millionaires for their dangerous behavior.

  3. DWH says:

    This a prime example of how the manufacturers by bankruptcy got rid of their long time dealers. Their using the same to get rid of their lawsuits. Investors/wallstreet is now runnung the car companies. Always from behind the wizard of oz curtain.