Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is paying the price for not recalling vehicles found to be defective. The company is buying back hundreds of thousands of its cars, including over a million Jeep SUVs and various models of trucks.
Over a half million Fiat Chrysler vehicles have been found to have issues with their suspensions that have caused drivers to lose control. Owners of these vehicles are being given the option of having them repaired or receiving money to trade them in.
Further, the automaker has been fined $105 million. This is a record amount for fines levied against auto makers. Another $15 million will be fined if the automaker is determined to have committed other violations. According to NHTSA, there were issues with 23 recalls by Fiat Chrysler
Under the consent agreement between Fiat Chrysler and NHTSA, an independent auditor will oversee its recalls in the future. The automaker says that it is "intent on rebuilding" its relationship with NHTSA. That may take some work. NHTSA's administrator says that "Fiat Chrysler's pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers and the driving public at risk."
As we have noted previously, automakers are under more scrutiny than ever before. The federal government is taking action against companies that fail to fix defective parts and other issues with their vehicles that can cause accidents, injuries and death. However, sadly, many of these problems don't come to light until a driver or passenger has been injured or killed due to a defect in a vehicle.
If you believe that a defect in your vehicle led to damage, injury or worse, it's essential to seek legal guidance to determine what your options are. In addition to seeking compensation to cover expenses like medical care and lost wages, you may indeed be saving others from injury or worse.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. auto safety regulators fine Fiat Chrysler record $105 million," David Morgan, July 26, 2015