The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked FCA US, the American subsidiary of FCA NV, the world’s seventh-biggest automaker, to respond to questions about its recalls no later than by the end of the day Monday.
The US auto safety regulator has seen consumer complaints about FCA US’s recall process that showcase its earlier concerns about the strategy adopted by the automaker, with the regulatory agency now bent on having answers about the delays. Six owners of 2004 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles have filed complaints with the NHTSA since March and they specifically express their frustration about the long time taken by dealers to secure the necessary parts and then schedule the cars for repairs. And these are just the most recent ones received by the safety agency for one model year of the recall that encompasses 1.56 million Jeeps — for model years 2002-2007 for the Liberty and 1993-1998 for the Grand Cherokee. They are in jeopardy to catch fire if struck from behind, with the automaker agreeing for a recall back in 2013 to install trailer hitches that supposedly reinforce the rear-mounted fuel tanks.
Under the law, automakers are calling the safety campaigns immediately after finding their cars, SUVs or trucks have a safety issue – even if the replacement parts are actually unavailable. “This is not about one recall. … We are looking at 20 recalls affecting 10 million vehicles,” commented NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. But the delay problems, as well as other issues, have prompted the NHTSA to focus on FCA US and warn the automaker over its recall completion rates in recent years.