While in the midst of a massive recall for some of its vehicles, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV may possibly be slapped with a fine worth as much as $105 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected the impose the said financial penalty on the Italian-US company as part of a settlement with the company, sources have told The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, it is expected that Fiat Chrysler will also agree to repurchase some of its recalled vehicles.
According to the transcript of court proceedings from the NHTSA for the “Public Hearing To Determine Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met Its Obligations To Remedy Recalled Vehicles And Notify NHTSA, Owners, And Purchasers Of Recalls,” NHTSA has “tentatively concluded” last June 22 that the company has failed to remedy the vehicles in a “reasonable time.” Moreover, NHTSA also believes that Fiat Chrysler has also not “adequately remedied vehicles.”
In addition, NHTSA has also “tentatively concluded” that notifications to the vehicle owners was not done in a timely manner. Fiat Chrysler has also failed to submit information on its recalls to NHTSA in a “timely, correct, complete and in the required form.”
Overall, Fiat Chrysler has issued 23 recalls for its vehicles. In June 2013, Chrysler announced a massive recall involving as much as 1,560,000 vehicles due to defective gas tanks that can possibly catch fire should the vehicle get struck from behind. The said recall affected 1993 to 1998 models of Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as 2002 to 2007 models of Jeep Liberty.
Meanwhile, vehicle fire risk was also the factor that led Chrysler to recall some 300,000 vehicles in October last year after detecting a defect in the electrical connectors in the diesel fuel heater. Should the said connectors overheat, the fuel heater may end up leaking fuel and prove to be a hazardous fire risk. The recall affected the 2010 to 2014 models of Ram 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500 trucks that were manufactured between March 2009 and September 2013.
Another recall involving some 651,130 of the company’s 2011 to 2014 models of Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee had to be issued in July 2014 after it was found that the vehicles’ vanity lamp in the sun visor have defect in its wiring, which can cause the wires to short-circuit and cause fire.
At the same time, Chrysler has also issued a number of vehicle recalls in recent years involving the “loosening of the rear axle pinion nut causing loss of vehicle control,” “defective ignition switches that can disable a vehicle’s air bags” as well as the “failure of the left tie rod assembly resulting in loss of steering control.”
Moreover, there was also a recall issued last October 2014 for a “sudden failure of the alternator” on 2011 to 2014 of several vehicles. Over the years, the said vehicle defects also came with fatal consequences.
During the trial, Todd Anderson spoke out and told everyone that his son Skyler Justice Anderson-Coughlin “burned to death” due to a defect in his 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee last Nov 10, 2013. The vehicle was reportedly struck from behind and his son managed to survive the said impact. However, the gas tank in the vehicle exploded engulfing the Jeep in flames. Meanwhile, Kayla White and her unborn son also burned to death in November 11, 2014 inside their 2003 Jeep Liberty.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Fiat Chrysler is expected to sign a consent order, agreeing to the penalties imposed on the company. Moreover, sources have also said that Fiat Chrysler may have an opportunity to recoup some of its financial penalty should it meet certain conditions.