The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is none-to-pleased about Fiat Chrysler’s handling of some 20 recalls affecting over 10 million vehicles, and it’s holding a public hearing on July 2 to aid in the investigation of how the automaker has handled the recalls. In short, NHTSA is pissed and now it’s taking serious action.
During a call with reporters after announcing the hearing, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind made it clear that the feds are questioning whether FCA has met its obligations in the recalls saying that it has “significant concerns” about the automaker’s performance and if there’s been a pattern of misconduct that poses a significant hazard to consumers, it needs to be addressed.
“These 20, we believe, are concerning,” says Rosekind. “We are very displeased with what’s going on.”
The public hearing – which NHTSA hasn’t done since 2012 – is relatively rare, and it’s never put together a formal hearing to review the conduct of an automaker on 20 separate campaigns.
Included in those are the 1.5 million 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Libertys that came equipped with defective fuel tanks that could catch fire if involved in a rear-end crash. FCA’s fix was to install trailer hitches to protect the tank, but the roll out of that remedy has been slow, and that’s one of the main thrusts behind the hearing.
“If NHTSA determines, based on the hearing and other evidence, that the company has failed its legal obligations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the agency could order actions designed to improve the company’s performance, including the buy-back or replacement of affected vehicles,” the feds said in a statement.
The agency also states that in recent months it’s “identified problems and expressed concerns with the administration, execution, and pace of vehicles being remedied across a number of Fiat Chrysler automobiles” and that it’s “received consumer complaints involving parts availability issues, lack of notification, difficulty obtaining service appointments, and misinformation from dealers.”
Part of the feds push also includes a 12-page order demanding answers on the recalls that date back to 2013 (embedded below).
The hearing will allow both the automaker and the public to submit information to a federal docket that will be included as part of the investigation.
“It’s broader than one recall,” says Rosalind.
Here’s a full list of the Chrysler recalls.