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Fiat Chrysler to be Investigated for 20 Recalls

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May 19, 2015—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to a public hearing where the handling of 20 recalls will be investigated.

The hearing will be held on July 2 to determine whether FCA failed to come up with adequate fixes for defects and review the adequacy of the automaker’s recall notices in 20 recall campaigns that have affected over 10 million vehicles since 2013.

If the company is found to be in violation of requirements under U.S. auto safety laws, FCA could be ordered to buy back affected vehicles or take other steps to address its shortcomings.

Among the probed recalls is the campaign to install trailer hitches on about 1.5 million 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Libertys to reinforce fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle that had the possibility of leaking and catching fire after a rear-end collision.

For a full list of the vehicles in question, click here.

The overall concerns about FCA are over the pattern of problems and how FCA handles recalls. NHTSA has concerns with the timeliness and appropriateness of FCA’s recall notifications and has instances of remedies that may not fix a given defect. There have also been low recall completion rates.  

“We’re really trying to emphasize that it’s not about one recall. We’re looking at 20 recalls affecting over 10 million vehicles, so we’re looking at a pattern of difficulty in responses here,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “It’s really across the board, which is why we’re looking at all 20 of them.”

In an emailed statement, FCA US said, "The average completion rate for FCA US LLC recalls exceeds the industry average and all FCA US campaigns are conducted in consultation with NHTSA. The company will cooperate fully."

NHTSA is concerned over the lack of recalls that are being made and also consumer complaints that replacement parts have been unavailable and there has been a lack of notification scheduling the recalls and difficulty scheduling service appointments.

“Significant questions have been raised as to whether this company is meeting its obligations to protect the drivers from safety defects, and today we are launching a process to ensure that those obligations are met,” Rosekind said. “It is not enough to identify defects. Manufacturers have to fix them.”

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