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NHTSA Hearings Still On Despite FCA Compliance

by Bill Cawthon on

FCA US complied with a special order issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month, handing over all requested files, but the agency still plans to hold public hearings early next month.


In the June 1 response to the May 18 order from Timothy H. Goodman, the NHTSA’s assistant chief counsel for litigation and enforcement, Scott Kunselman, FCA’s senior vice president for vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, wrote:

FCA US takes the safety and satisfaction of its customers seriously, and is committed to continuously improving our products, image and overall performance. Thorough investigation of potential safety issues and remedy of safety defects are core tenets of this philosophy. Our detailed response to the Special Order request demonstrates this commitment by identifying the accomplishments made to date which place us among the best of our peers in terms of recall completion rates. Our commitment also is evident by the initiatives underway to further enhance our processes to identify, and remediate safety defects…

The majority of FCA US recalls achieve above industry average completion performance. At the six quarters of execution benchmark, FCA US completes over 77% of all recalls. For vehicles less than five years old, FCA US achieves an average completion rate of 84% (recalls since 2004, measured at 24 months). Our overall completion rate is nearly the best in the industry, second only to BMW amongst all major OEMs. In fact, NHTSA has previously adopted suggestions from FCA US on how to improve customer mailings as well as sent other manufacturers to benchmark FCA US’ past outreach activities.”

Scott Kunselman

FCA said its plans for improvement include:

  • Creation of a bi-weekly executive campaign execution review team led by the VSRC (Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance) department, attended by Mopar, customer care, purchasing, and other functions where necessary.
  • A monthly status review of approved campaigns with senior management.
  • A real-time campaign program management tool with flags where delays could occur.
  • Additional resources for the product investigations staff to review post-recall execution, including consumer and dealer complaints.
  • Commissioning of a review of the recall execution process.

Kunselman told Goodman that FCA’s response is reason to cancel the July hearings, but the hearings will continue as NHTSA responds to criticism from the media and Congress.

The full text of Fiat Chrysler’s response is available on the NHTSA website at

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, 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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