The top US auto safety regulator said Thursday, after the public hearing on FCA US’s recall actions, there will be swift action in response to the company’s mishandling of safety campaigns including more than ten million vehicles.
Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hinted towards action from the US regulator, coming as fast as the end of July in the form of either an agreement with FCA US or an enforcement action. “There will be action,” Rosekind told media representatives. “What you’ve heard here is that there’s a pattern that’s been going on for some time,” he added following a two-hour public hearing that saw testimony from NHTSA officials, safety advocates, victims’ relatives and auto industry representatives that included a senior FCA executive.
The third largest US carmaker and the world’s seventh biggest could be slapped with fines of at least $700 million and be forced to buy back or replace certain vehicles of the regulators determines it didn’t uphold its legal obligations. The 23 recalls in question feature model year vehicles from as old as 1993. Rosekind also said it would need to be determined if the case should also be sent to the US Justice Department for a possible investigation of criminal action. While FCA previously said the hearing was unnecessary, NHTSA officials said failures were found in all 23 separate recalls, including what they coined as misleading behavior, a company representative – Scott Kunselman, FCA’s senior vice president for vehicle safety and regulatory compliance in North America – acknowledged the regulator had legitimate concerns.