Toyota agreed in March 2014 to pay $1.2 billion to settle United States criminal charges that it lied to safety regulators and the public as it tried to cover-up deadly accelerator defects linked to dozens of deaths.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced today that it did not correctly notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of problems with its vehicles.
Early Warning Reports provide data that could identify safety defects and ultimately lead to recalls.
Act, requires all automakers and their suppliers to notify NHTSA of all accidents involving possible defects in their vehicles along with all warranty and property damage claims received from customers. NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said the investigation will determine just how many deaths and injuries weren’t reported.
“This represents a significant failure to meet a manufacturer’s safety responsibilities”, Mr. Rosekind said, adding that reporting lapses are likely linked to systemic problems with the company’s handling of early-warning report data”.
Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday said it uncovered the problems as part of additional scrutiny arising from the July settlement with regulators, which required the eventual assigning of an independent monitor to audit the company’s safety practices, in addition to other penalties. The deal required Fiat Chrysler to make a $70-million cash payment, spend $20-million to improve its recall process and pay an additional $15-million if the auto maker committed further violations.
FCA began the probe after NHTSA notified the automaker of an “apparent discrepancy” in the Early Warning Reporting data that all automakers submit to the agency on a quarterly basis. “NHTSA will take appropriate action after gathering additional information on the scope and causes of this failure”, NHTSA Director Mark Rosekind said in a statement. In the past several years, the agency has fined Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, General Motors, Ford and others for failing to follow the law.