The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to come to Washington, D.C. this upcoming July 2, 2015 to speak about the handling of recalls they have some issues with. The NHTSA has said they have concerns about auto safety issues since 20 recall campaigns have taken place that cover more than 10 million vehicles since 2013. The concern? They wonder if there are more deeply routed issues than just one recall, and if there should be a determination made whether or not there is a pattern that presents a significant safety hazard to consumers who purchase these vehicles.
So what does the NHTSA want to happen at the hearing? They could actually order actions that will speed fixes or order the automaker to buy back vehicles that are thought to be unsafe for consumers. They could also hand down tens of millions of dollars in fines, which is extremely significant! However, FCA could appeal and then things would be taken to federal court in the matter, for further actions to be taken. FCA could be looking at some extreme scrutiny and very painful testimony at the upcoming hearing, due to the fact that the NHTSA may call investigators to testify about problems in the 20 recall campaigns that have taken place. Also, members of the public directly affected by these recalls are likely to testify, who may bring graphic photos of crashes that have resulted from defective products. (1)
This is not the first time.
In the past, the NHTSA has gotten fed up with Chrysler before and the delays in recalls that have posed an issue in their company. Deaths have been unfortunately caused by some of these furthering delays, which proves a point to the NHTSA that matters need to become much stricter. In 2013, there were more issues when the FCA refused to recall 2.7 million Jeep SUVs that were linked to more than 50 deaths in rear vehicle collisions. Eventually, the automaker agreed to recall 1.56 million Jeeps but people were wondering: Deaths were caused – so wasn’t this too late? (2)
The point here is that the NHTSA is realizing that they must take a much tougher approach when dealing with these automakers and faulty vehicles and products. The agency wants to see massive improvements in recall completion rates and respond in a more timely manner to safety concerns that pose an issue to the public. The pace in which some of these companies work is lacking, to say the least. For instance, Fiat Chrysler fixed 126,000 vehicles in the last three months of 2014. They fixed 133,000 in the first three months of 2015. The government’s stance on this is that the pace isn’t good or fast enough, as it should be. The NHTSA is trying to keep up with these companies like FCA due to the fact that no lives should have to be lost because of a defective product. (1) If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective vehicle or product, contact MDL for a free consultation to see where you stand!