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Fiat Chrysler to Pay $105 Million Fine

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Jarod Cassidy2 years ago

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered that Fiat Chrysler pay $105 million in penalties for failing to properly address 23 safety recalls. According to the New York Times, the fine is the largest ever levied by the federal regulator.

Center for Auto Safety Links 185 Deaths to Single Recall

While the fines concern nearly two dozen recalls affecting roughly 11 million vehicles, much of the federal scrutiny has fallen on Fiat Chrysler’s recall of 1.5 million Jeep vehicles carrying a potentially fatal defect.

According to reports, several model-year Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberties are equipped with fuel tanks that can cause massive fires when the vehicles are involved in a rear collision.

NHTSA records indicate the fuel tanks are located behind the rear axle with little to shield the plastic tanks when the Jeeps are struck from behind. As such, the tanks are prone to rupture and gas leaks when a rear impact collision occurs.

Currently, NHTSA has acknowledged at least 75 deaths have been linked to the defective Jeep vehicles; however, the Center for Auto Safety alleges the number is much higher, counting 187 deaths.

Fiat Chrysler Defiant in Jeep Recall

While the recall for the defective Jeep vehicles was initially announced in 2013, very few of the vehicles have received any kind of repair. This is mainly due to slow manufacturing of the necessary parts.

The current fix put forth by Fiat Chrysler requires that a new trailer hitch be installed, but at current production rates, it could take up to four more years for all vehicles to be repaired.

Additionally, there has been concern that the trailer hitches are not enough to truly remedy the defects and that Fiat Chrysler is simply pursuing the most cost effective path. Despite pressure from regulators, Fiat Chrysler maintained that their response to the deadly defect was adequate.


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