Fiat Chrysler hit with record $90m fine for safety issues

  • 27/07/2015

Fiat Chrysler will pay a record US$90 million fine for lapses in recalls of its vehicles under a deal reached with US regulators.

The Italian-American car maker will pay US$70 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It will spend a further US$20 million on "consumer outreach activities and incentives to enhance certain recall completion rates" and will be required to pay an additional US$15 million if it fails to comply with the terms of the deal, it said in a statement on Monday (local time).

Under the deal, an independent auditor will monitor the company's recall process for three years. If it fails to comply with the terms imposed, the NHTSA can extend the scrutiny by another year.

In a report on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal quoted sources as saying under the deal the company will buy back some defective vehicles.

The fine was to punish legal violations in recalls of 11 million vehicles, including older Jeep models with rear petrol tanks linked to numerous fatal fires, the Journal said.

The NHTSA had accused the car maker of obstructing the work of regulators, of not alerting car owners to problems in a timely manner, and of carrying out insufficient repairs, the report said.

The company on Friday announced recalls of 1.4 million vehicles in the United States after hackers demonstrated they could remotely control a Jeep Cherokee while it was in operation.

The US$90 million of penalties imposed on Fiat Chrysler are greater than those slapped on General Motors (US$35 million) for delayed recalls and on Japan's Honda (US$70 million) for hiding safety problems in some of its vehicles.