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FCA Responds to NHTSA Special Order

by Bill Cawthon on

Last night, Fiat Chrysler responded to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recent special order, needed for an investigation into how the company handled twenty numerous recalls.

While the public hearings got most of the press, the special order’s demand for documentation will keep a number of FCA employees busy.

Special-Order-NHTSA-Goodman-Web

Allpar obtained a copy of the 12-page special order issued by Timothy H. Goodman, the NHTSA’s assistant chief counsel for litigation and enforcement. In short, the NHTSA wants:

  • All dealer communications surrounding the twenty recalls being investigated, including instructions on repair timing and parts availability.
  • The number of consumer complaints, field reports, and any reports of a fire, crash, injury, or fatality.
  • Details of any arbitration or lawsuits in which FCA was a party.
  • An updated spreadsheet tracking actions taken in the recalls.
  • An action plan to achieve a maximum repair rate for each recall, showing any actions “above and beyond” basic legal requirements.
  • Any issues that would hinder efforts to improve repair rates.
  • An organizational chart of FCA employees involved in recalls, with documentation of any training for those employees.

The agency has demanded that this information be delivered no later than 5 pm on June 1, 2015; failing to meet the deadline could lead to a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice and civil fines of up to $7,000 per day, with a maximum penalty of $35 million.

FCA’s statement, issued yesterday by FCA spokesman Eric Mayne, reads:

FCA US LLC takes seriously its commitment to provide safe vehicles that meet customer expectations for quality and workmanship.

The Company is fully aligned with NHTSA’s desire to promote efficient execution of vehicle recalls and enhance completion rates. We look forward to providing a comprehensive response to NHTSA’s inquiry with respect to the cited campaigns consistent with the Company’s longstanding commitment to transparency.

FCA US will continue to cooperate with NHTSA in its efforts to identify ways in which it can more quickly identify issues, determine fixes and execute campaigns.

Wall Street seems to have taken all this in stride: FCAU closed up $0.13 at $15.60 yesterday. The stock price is roughly halfway between where it was before the latest investor’s report, and immediately after it.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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