Why U.S. Regulators Will Continue to Keep Tabs on Fiat Chrysler
U.S. auto safety regulators said on Friday they were extending oversight of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for an additional year, requiring the Italian-American automaker to submit to monthly meetings and early disclosures of potential vehicle issues.
In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler agreed to a $105 million settlement with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for mishandling nearly two dozen recall campaigns covering 11 million vehicles. It also agreed to monitoring by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.
Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) said in a statement that the NHTSA’s decision to extend the requirements was not based on the company’s performance to date, but rather to “facilitate continued communication,” citing a letter from the agency.
In May, the NHTSA extended its oversight of General Motors‘s (GM) decision-making about potential vehicle safety issues until May 2017 under a similar settlement.
Fiat Chrysler has faced a number of questions about its safety record over the last year and has recalled a record number of vehicles.
In December, the NHTSA fined Fiat Chrysler $70 million for failing to report vehicle crash deaths and injuries since 2003. The company failed to comply with a 2000 law that requires disclosure of death and injury reports to help safety officials detect defect trends early.
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Last month, Fiat Chrysler said it would speed up its software fix for 1.1 million recalled vehicles for rollaway risks like the recalled Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in the death of actor Anton Yelchin.
Yelchin, best known for playing “Chekhov” in Star Trek, was killed when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards in the steep driveway of his Los Angeles home, pinning him against a brick wall and a fence.
Fiat Chrysler said on Friday it is “intent on continuing to build our relationship with NHTSA as we embrace our leadership role in the industry as a public safety advocate.”