The feds have been publicly flogging Fiat Chrysler over the botched handling of some 11 million recalled vehicles. NHTSA could impose fines up to $700 million on the automaker, so it’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler and its CEO are starting to play nice with the government agency.

According to Reuters, FCA’s CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the automaker is in talks with NHTSA to avoid potential fines for the recall debacles, although “there’s nothing signed” and Marchionne didn’t provide any details on the discussions.

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The CEO took a much more conciliatory tone during his comments today at an impromptu press conference that kicked off the contract talks with the UAW.

“We have adapted not in the best possible way to the new regime,” Marchionne said, noting the tack NHTSA and its new administrator, Mark Rosekind, has taken with recall matters. “We have to continue to work with the agency to put us on the right path,” he told journalists.

NHTSA hasn’t said publicly that it’s willing to work with FCA on the fines, but told Reuters in a statement that, “one possible outcome is a consent order in which Fiat Chrysler agrees to address issues with its recall performance.”

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How that would actually work is far from clear, but the fact that FCA is toning down its bravado as NHTSA is getting serious about calling foul on the automaker means that there’s at least some push to rectify matters.