Detroit, MI: Fiat Chrysler will pay a record $105 million in fines to the US government for violating laws in a series of vehicle safety recalls. Additionally, Fiat Chrysler will have to buy back 500,000 Ram pickup trucks and other vehicles in order to take them off the roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
The fines were prompted by Fiat Chrysler' failure to act quickly enough on safety recalls. The fines are the biggest of their kind in US history.
According to media reports, owners of 1.54 million recalled older model jeeps with receive payments from the automaker. The jeeps have gas tanks behind the rear axle and are vulnerable and leak gasoline if damaged during a collision. Customers can bring them to dealers to install trailer hitches to help protect the tanks. FC is not buying back the Jeeps because it maintains those vehicles are as safe as comparable vehicles built at the time.
The NHSTA' actions come less than a month after it held a public hearing into problems with 23 Fiat Chrysler recalls which affect over 11 million cars and trucks. At the hearing, NHTSA cited a long list of serious shortfalls, specifically, failure to notify customers of recalls; delays in making and distributing repair parts; and, in some cases, failing to come up with repairs that fix the problems. Some of the recalls date to 2013.