Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are to pay a record $105 million for mishandling 23 separate recalls. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 11 million vehicles have been affected, and Chrysler has admitted to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) that they had violated federal safety laws. Over the years, the automaker has been criticized for their lagging response over handling recalls. It has been announced by the NHTSA that Chrysler has agreed for the next there years to “submit to rigorous federal oversight” as well as hire an independent, 3rd Party monitor.
Chrysler has agreed to pay $70 million as a cash penalty and an additional $20 million to ensure vehicles are fixed with cash incentives to owners. Should the independent monitor at any time in the future determine that the terms of the settlement have not been met, Chrysler will have to pay an additional $15 million in penalties.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty of the model years 1993-1998 were among one of the highest profiled recalls in the settlement. This particular recall was due to the potential gas tank leak after a severe rear impact. In 2013, NHTSA stated that over 50 deaths were linked to this defect. Owners of 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees that are “prone to deadly fires” may be able to trade in SUVs for $1,000 above market value or a $100 gift card for repairs.
Chrysler said in a statement that they accept the consequences of their actions and will improve their handling of recalls and will hopefully re-establish customer trust.