The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has imposed a $70 million civil fine on the parent company of Chrysler for failing to report safety data.
A statement from the agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, has acknowledged that it failed to turn in "early warning report" data about accidents, warranty claims and safety issues. The data are used to identify potential defects that could lead to a recall, the agency said.
"Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement, and it's also part of a manufacturer's obligation to protect the safety of the traveling public," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the statement. He added:
"We need FCA and other automakers to move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture, and when they fall short, we will continue to exercise our enforcement authority to set them on the right path."
In July, the government issued a consent order regarding Fiat-Chrysler's handling of safety recalls, which has led to a series of fines against the auto-maker. The Wall Street Journal reported today that:
"Auto makers are required to alert regulators to early-warning reporting data each quarter. Honda Motor Co. at the end of last year also received a $70 million penalty for similar lapses in part tied to information related to rupture-prone air bags made by Takata Corp.
"With the latest fine, the total penalties under that settlement with regulators now rise to $175 million. A total of $35 million of the penalty is deferred but could later become payable if the company violates the settlement's terms."
Fiat Chrysler has commissioned an outside audit to determine how much data the company failed to report.
In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it "accepts these penalties and is revising its process to ensure regulatory compliance." But the statement added that the company "is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources."
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