London—Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has entered into a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which will resolve issues surrounding the automaker’s execution of 23 recall campaigns. In addition, the company must offer to buy back as many as 500,000 vehicles in the U.S., including 300,000 Ram pickups.
The NHTSA’s Special Order was issued to FCA’s U.S. operations May 22, 2015 and further addressed at a NHTSA public hearing held earlier this month. FCA US acknowledged the order in a statement and vowed to improve how it handles its recalls.
“We… accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us. We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate,” the company said.
The consent order includes an admission by FCA US that in three specified campaigns it failed to provide an effective remedy in a timely manner, and that it did not comply with various reporting requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.
In response to the violations, FCA US has agreed to make a $70 million cash payment to NHTSA and to spend $20 million on industry and consumer outreach activities and incentives to enhance certain recall and service campaign completion rates. An additional $15 million payment will be payable by FCA US if it fails to comply with certain terms of the consent order.
FCA US has also agreed to undertake specific actions to improve its recall execution. The consent order will be supervised by an independent monitor and will remain in place for three years subject to NHTSA’s right to extend for an additional year if FCA US fails to comply with the order.