Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has agreed to pay 70 million dollars in fines to resolve an US investigation that failed to disclose vehicle crash death and injury reports.
According to people familiar with the matter who reported to Reuters, the settlement is expected to be announced shortly by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fiat Chrysler acknowledged in September it had failed to disclose an unspecified number of reports that are required to be submitted to regulators under a 2000 law. Also in September, NHTSA called Fiat Chrysler’s reporting omissions a “significant failure.” Major auto companies are required to electronically submit massive amounts of data involving vehicle crashes, deaths, lawsuits, warranty claims and other information.
Fiat Chrysler told NHTSA earlier this year it had problems with its software for extracting information from a company database to submit to NHTSA, and as a result there were significantly under-reported death and injury claims. There is no indication that Fiat Chrysler intentionally hid the reports and no suggestion that NHTSA failed to discover safety defects because of the missing reports. Fiat Chrysler said back in September “it takes this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur.”
The early warning reports are required under the 2000 law passed by Congress after more than 270 people were killed in rollover crashes in Ford Explorers with faulty tires. The law is aimed at helping regulators spot safety defect trends earlier. Fiat Chrysler has recalled about 11 million vehicles this year in the United States in 38 campaigns — the most of any automaker — an all-time record.