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  1. Not a pleasant day at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the company was handed a $70 Million fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to report death and injury claims to regulators. Now this penalty comes from FCA admitting to NHTSA that it failed to provide Early Warning Report data to NHTSA over several years starting in 2003. Now this is required by the TREAD Act of 2000 where an automaker provides claims of death and injuries, warranty claims, consumer complaints and field reports of safety issues as a way to identify a possible defect. Automotive News reports that FCA has brought in a third-party to do an audit of its reporting failures. “FCA US LLC accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance. However, FCA US is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources.” FCA said in a statement. This new fine is in addition to a $70 Million penalty that FCA agreed to pay in July to settle a probe by the U.S. government into a pattern of violations found in FCA’s handling of 23 recalls since 2009. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), NHTSA Press Release is on Page 2
  2. The U.S. Congress is voting on a new highway bill that if passed, would bring some much needed money and changes for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Automotive News reports the new bill, called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would be the first long-term highway plan in a decade. If passed, the bill would provide roughly $300 billion for roads, bridges, and mass-transit projects. The bill would also increase NHTSA's budget for defect investigations from $10 million a year to $30 million. But for NHTSA to get the increase in the budget, they would need to implement a number of reforms outlined by Transportation Department’s inspector general. Along with the increase in the defect investigation budget, FAST would some much-needed changes in how recalls and defects are dealt with. The maximum fine for safety violations will increase from $35 million to $105 million Employees who report on potentially dangerous safety violations will be rewarded If there is a financial penalty put on an automaker or supplier, a whistleblower could get up to 30 percent of the penalty Automakers will need to keep safety data for 10 years (up from the current 5) and provide part numbers for defective parts to NHTSA Dealers will be required to notify customers of an open recall Rental car companies will not be allowed to rent out vehicles that have an open recall States would be given funds to notify owners who renew their vehicle registration that a recall is due Currently, the bill has bipartisan support and the White House announced that President Obama would sign the bill if passed. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have entered a consent agreement that will see FCA paying a record $105 million civil penalty after the Government investigated 23 different recalls into the company since 2009. “Today’s action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward. This civil penalty puts manufacturers on notice that the department will act when they do not take their obligations to repair safety defects seriously,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. As part of the consent agreement, FCA admitted that it "failed to timely provide an effective remedy” in three recall campaigns, and that it failed to comply with “various reporting requirements” of U.S. laws governing recalls in a timely manner. The $105 million civil penalty is made up of a $70 million payment to NHTSA, $20 million to revamping their efforts in terms of safety, and $15 million in additional penalties if FCA doesn't meet the terms. Along with the penalty, FCA will also have to buy back more than 500,000 vehicles - mostly Ram trucks - due to defective suspension parts that could cause drivers to lose control. Also, owners of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs with rear-mounted gas tanks will be able to trade their vehicles for above-market value or take a take a “financial incentive” to have a trailer hitch installed. The final part of the agreement will see FCA bring in a independent monitor that will monitor issues at the company for the next three years. "We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices," FCA said in a statement. Source: The Detroit News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Press Release is on Page 2 FCA US Reaches Consensual Resolution of NHTSA Investigation on 23 Recall Campaigns July 26, 2015 , London, UK - FCA US LLC (FCA US) today announced it has entered into a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which resolves the issues raised by NHTSA with respect to FCA US’s execution of 23 recall campaigns in NHTSA’s Special Order issued to FCA US on May 22, 2015 and further addressed at a NHTSA public hearing held on July 2, 2015. The consent order includes an admission by FCA US that in three specified campaigns it had failed to timely provide an effective remedy, and that it did not timely comply with various reporting requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Pursuant to the consent order, 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 in the event of FCA US' noncompliance with the consent order. FCA US LLC Consent Order Response July 26, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC acknowledges the admissions in its Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We also 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. Accordingly, FCA US has agreed to address certain industry objectives, such as identifying best practices for recall execution and researching obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices.
  4. While General Motors has gotten most of the blame in the ignition switch fiasco, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't getting away scot free. The New York Times reports that the Department of Transportation released two internal documents revealing a series of failings by NHTSA. One of those failings was the administration not paying sufficient attention to a Wisconsin state trooper’s report in 2007 which suggested that the ignition switch played a key role in a fatal accident. The reports go on to say that NHTSA didn't use their full power to hold GM accountable in terms of this problem. “There needs to be a complete overhaul of this failing agency. The results of this report are long overdue,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). NHTSA has begun to make a number of changes in light of these reports. They include, Put manufacturers “on notice” about potential defects as soon they identified any troubling cases. Institute a 'Risk Control' program that better aligns different sections of NHTSA and encourage more sharing Be monitored by a group of outside experts including former officials of the National Transportation Safety Board and NASA “The G.M. experience changed the culture here. What that means is challenge the information you’re getting, and challenge the assumptions you are pursuing,” said NHTSA administrator Mark R. Rosekind. Still some people believe NHTSA needs to go farther. “It still soft-pedals why they have gone from one defect crisis to another,” said Sean E. Kane of the consulting firm Safety Research and Strategies. “What is missing is any mention of the importance of transparency.” Source: The New York Times
  5. Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be holding a public hearing to probe Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' handling of 20 different recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013. The agency is concerned about the completion rates and other issues on these recalls. But FCA believes this hearing should be skipped. In a 19-page response to questions from NHTSA that was released yesterday, the company argues that its overall recall completion rate is "nearly the best in the industry, with 77 percent. The response goes onto state that they are compliant with existing regulations and are in the process of implementing new programs to improve their completion rate. FCA says their way “to review and identify with NHTSA input, and implement changes based on the learnings obviate the need for a hearing.” But NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind tells The Detroit News that the hearing is still on. “Twenty recalls are a problem — 10 million vehicles. There’s a pattern here of things we’re concerned about. And they weren’t just little things — they were big things including major safety issues related to fire, door latches that could open up when people were driving. It’s not just, ‘Oh, they were late on something.’ If they didn’t start, it was late, it means all that time people are at risk. And they told us something different,” said Rosekind. Source: The Detroit News
  6. After months of pressure from the U.S. Government and a number of recalls from automakers, Japanese supplier Takata agreed to declare that its airbag inflators in nearly 34 million vehicles are defective. The announcement was made today by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a press conference. “Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective, That changes today,” said Foxx. The problem with Takata's airbags deals with propellant exploding with too much force and sends dangerous metal fragments flying. This problem has been linked to 6 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Scarily, the root cause of the problem hasn't been found at this time - though officials link the problem to high humidity and moisture exposure. The Detroit News reports that Takata will announce that it has filed 4 defect reports with U.S. auto safety officials stating that 33.8 million vehicles have defective driver and passenger air bag inflators. This is double the amount vehicles already recalled by automakers since 2013. It could mean that this air bag problem could mark the largest U.S. recall of any consumer product, since the Tylenol poison scare in 1982. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News
  7. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into a fatal crash dealing with Tesla's Autopilot system. In a statement given to Reuters, NHTSA said the driver of a 2015 Tesla Model S was killed while the vehicle was in the Autopilot mode. The crash took place on May 7th in Williston, Florida when a tractor-trailer was making a left turn across a divided highway. Tesla in a lengthy blog post said: "neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." The Model S drove underneath the trailer with the bottom making contact with the windshield. The Verge reports the driver was 40-year old Joshua Brown who filmed various videos of his Model S. One of the videos on his YouTube channel showed his Model avoiding an accident with a bucket truck. NHTSA's investigation will look the design and performance of the Model S and its various components, including Autopilot. It should be noted this is standard practice for NHTSA to investigate any crash where the vehicle's system could be at fault. Tesla's blog post says this is first known fatality in over 130 million miles since Autopilot was turned on. Autopilot has been a source of controversy since Tesla rolled it out last year. Numerous videos of Model S owners filming themselves in dangerous situations and sometimes showing the system not working caused Tesla to make some drastic changes. These included limiting the types of road the system could be turned on and making checks to see if there was someone sitting in the driver's seat. Tesla has said time and time again that Autopilot is a beta feature and that the driver needed to pay attention. "Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert," Tesla said in their post. "It is important to note that Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it. " Nevertheless, this crash puts autonomous technologies and Tesla under some intense scrutiny. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, Reuters, Tesla, The Verge
  8. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an urgent warning to owners of certain 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura model to stop driving them due to these models being equipped with Takata airbags. Lab tests done by NHTSA revealed that the airbag inflator in these vehicles have a 50 percent chance of the bag rupturing, causing metal shards to enter the interior and possibly injuring or even killing a person. "With as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately. Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The vehicles involved include, 2001-2002 Honda Accord 2001-2002 Honda Civic 2002 Honda CR-V 2002 Honda Odyssey 2003 Honda Pilot 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL 2003 Acura 3.2CL According to NHTSA, there 313,000 vehicles that need to have their airbags replaced. One of the main causes for the rupturing is moisture getting inside the inflator. Vehicles in high humid areas such as Florida are susceptible to this. In a statement, Honda agreed with NHTSA's findings and urged owners to get their vehicles to a dealer as soon as possible. Source: Reuters, NHTSA Press Release is on Page 2 NHTSA: New test data on particular subset of Takata air bag inflators shows substantially higher risk NHTSA calls on news media and public to assist in finding unrepaired high-risk vehicles WASHINGTON – New test data on a particular subset of defective Takata air bag inflators in certain model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles show a far higher risk of ruptures during air bag deployment, prompting an urgent call from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure that unrepaired vehicles in this population are found and fixed before they cause further injuries or fatalities. “With as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.” The higher-risk inflators are in certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles: 2001-2002 Honda Civic 2001-2002 Honda Accord 2002-2003 Acura TL 2002 Honda CR-V 2002 Honda Odyssey 2003 Acura CL 2003 Honda Pilot The air bag inflators in these particular vehicles contain a manufacturing defect which greatly increases the potential for dangerous rupture when a crash causes the air bag to deploy. Ruptures are far more likely in inflators in vehicles that have spent significant periods of time in areas of high absolute humidity—particularly Florida, Texas, other parts of the Gulf Coast, and Southern California. Testing of the inflators from these vehicles show rupture rates as high as 50 percent in a laboratory setting. The vehicles in question were recalled between 2008 and 2011. Honda has reported that more than 70 percent of this higher-risk population of vehicles has already been repaired, but approximately 313,000 vehicles with this very dangerous defect remain unrepaired. The risk posed by the airbag inflators in these vehicles is grave, and it is critical they be repaired now to avoid more deaths and serious injuries. NHTSA and Honda are asking for the news media and public’s assistance to find the remaining unrepaired vehicles. Drivers of these vehicles should immediately visit SaferCar.gov to check whether their vehicle has any outstanding safety recalls. Those that do should contact their nearest dealer to schedule a no-cost immediate repair. Replacement parts for these vehicles are available immediately. “The air bag inflators in this particular group of vehicles pose a grave danger to drivers and passengers that must be fixed right away,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. "Drivers should visit SaferCar.gov or contact their local dealer to check whether their vehicle is affected. If it is, they should have the vehicle repaired immediately for free at an authorized dealer. We commend Honda for taking additional actions to get these vehicles repaired.” Though the vehicles are already under recall, NHTSA ordered Takata to perform additional ballistic testing following recent reports of ruptures. Eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to Takata ruptures — including the most recent in Fort Bend County, Texas — were in this population of vehicles. Honda has committed to immediately taking additional actions to enhance their efforts to find and fix recalled vehicles. Honda will provide additional information about their efforts. NHTSA has also directed Honda to report weekly on the progress of vehicle repairs. NHTSA is also expanding its own direct consumer outreach, including a paid media campaign and a series of outreach events in high-risk areas this summer. NHTSA has also engaged the vehicle insurance industry to help locate the unremedied vehicles.
  9. A historic commitment was announced today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and twenty automakers to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) standard by 2022. “It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives. It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. This agreement comes as a result of mounting evidence that AEB systems can cut rear-end crashes by as much as 40 percent. Back in September, NHTSA and IIHS announced that ten automakers - Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo - agreed to have AEB systems standard on all their vehicles in the future. Since then, the various groups have been working out various details of the agreement. Plus, another ten automakers - Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, and Subaru - have added their names. All told, this group represents about 99 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales. The key thing to keep in mind is this isn't a government mandate. It is agreement between the between automakers and the government, something NHTSA says will cause widespread adoption three years sooner than a formal rule. The agreement will come into effect in two phases. Phase 1 will require all vehicles with a gross weight under 8,500 pounds to have AEB by September 1, 2022. Phase 2 requires vehicles with a gross weight between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds to have AEB by September 1, 2025. Source: NHTSA Press Release is on Page 2 U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles Thursday, March 17, 2016 McLEAN, Va. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process. AEB systems help prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying the brakes for the driver. The systems use on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and apply the brakes if the driver does not take sufficient action quickly enough. NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make AEB standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. During those three years, according to IIHS estimates, the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries. “It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers." Based on mounting evidence that AEB effectively reduced crashes and injuries in the U.S. and around the world, NHTSA and IIHS issued a challenge to industry in September 2015 to encourage automakers to voluntarily make AEB a standard feature. A series of meetings followed to establish details of the commitment. “IIHS member companies strongly support the adoption of effective safety technologies,” said IIHS Board Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance, Jack Salzwedel. “Deploying AEB on a wide scale will allow us to further evaluate the technology’s effectiveness and its impact on insurance losses, so that more insurers can explore offering discounts or lower premiums to consumers who choose AEB-equipped vehicles.” “We’re getting these safety systems into vehicles much faster than what would have been otherwise possible,” said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind. “A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner.” “The benefits of this commitment are far reaching,” said IIHS Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “From injuries and deaths averted to the recovery of productivity that would otherwise be lost in traffic jams caused by the crashes prevented. It also assures that all Americans will benefit from this technology.” “With roadway fatalities on the rise, the commitment made today has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, who attended today’s announcement. "Including all models in the agreement ensures that safety isn't for just those who can afford it." NHTSA and IIHS also announced that Consumer Reports will assist in monitoring automaker progress toward meeting the AEB commitment. Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, said, “We have been calling on automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard in all new vehicles, and today is an important step toward reaching that goal. This proven technology is among the most promising safety advances we’ve seen since electronic stability control almost two decades ago. We look forward to working with NHTSA and IIHS to help put this plan into action and hold automakers accountable for their commitments.” Today’s commitment will make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 lbs. or less beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2022. AEB will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025. As NHTSA continues its regulatory work in this area, NHTSA will track the progress industry is making towards its commitment. The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes. To encourage further development of AEB technology, NHTSA will accelerate its research on more advanced AEB applications, including systems that reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians. In December, NHTSA announced plans to rate AEB systems and other advanced technologies under its 5-Star Safety Ratings beginning in model year 2018.
  10. Back in 2011, the U.S. Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an audit into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after its handling of the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis. The OIG made ten recommendations on how NHTSA identifies and addresses safety defects such as developing a formal training program and documenting explanations as to why they have missed deadlines. Five years on, NHTSA hasn't put all of those recommendations into practice. According to Reuters, the OIG released a new audit showing the agency had not implemented all of the recommendations agreed upon in 2011 to help protect drivers. Out of the ten recommendations, NHTSA has only put three into practice. The audit showed that NHTSA had not implemented any sort of training for their employees to investigate possible defects. "As a result, (NHTSA's defects investigation) staff may not be sufficiently trained to identify and investigate potential vehicle defects, or ensure that vehicle manufacturers take prompt and effective action," the OIG states in the audit. The OIG also found NHTSA didn't document reasons as to why they delayed completing investigations in a timely fashion, along with retaining safety records. NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge tells Reuters the agency agrees with the recommendations and will apply all of them by June 30th. Source: Reuters, Office of Inspector General
  11. General Motors isn't the only automaker that is dealing with problems with the ignition switch. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced it is investigating the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Dodge Journey from the 2008 to 2010 model years due to ignition switch problems. NHTSA says they have been receiving complaints that the key can can shift from the “run” to the “accessory” mode while the vehicle is on the move. "While in this intermediate position, harsh roadway conditions or driver interaction with the ignition key can cause the switch to move to the ACC position which may disable the frontal air bags in a crash where deployment is warranted," NHTSA wrote in a investigation notice. NHTSA suspects a spring in the ignition switch is the likely culprit as it may may over-travel and leave the key between the 'run' and 'accessory' positions. Chrysler has issued a recall before back in 2011, but only for vehicles built within a ten-month period between 2009 and 2010. However, NHTSA has continued receiving complaints from people who had their vehicles serviced in the original recall. Also, owners of 2008 and 2009 vehicles have reported the same problem. In a separate investigation, NHTSA is looking into the 525,000 Jeep Commanders from the 2006 – 2007 model years, and the Grand Cherokee from 2005 – 2006 model years due to drivers bumping the key, causing it to be knocked into the accessory position. Chrysler says it will fully cooperate with NHTSA's investigation. Source: Auto Guide William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  12. The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ended the daily fine of $7,000 to General Motors after the company turned over the docements and answered the 107 detailed questions about its recall. A Transportation Department spokeswoman said the daily fine ended on June 5th when GM handed over the 315-page internal report from Anton Valukas. “We have what we asked for. The (GM) report is consistent with what we said a few weeks ago, which is there are some culture issues,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transport Secretary. The total amount GM has pay to NHTSA? Around $420,000 which is due on July 4th. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants to increase the maximum fine for automakers who fail to recall vehicles in a timely fashion from the current $35 million fine to a much more painful $300 million fine. The increase is part of a new transportation reauthorization bill whose primary focus is to fund maintenance for highways, bridges, and other infrastructures. On a conference call with reporters, Foxx said the fines on automakers need to be “more than a rounding error” to act as a deterrent. The department “wants to make sure there’s an ability to make it count and ensure that there’s enough of an effect across the industry,” Foxx said. The bill also includes giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the power to require auto manufacturers to remove automobiles from being sold if a defect is discovered. It would also force rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles before they are rented again. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. Just when you thought General Motors couldn't dig any deeper with the ignition switch recall, they seem to find a way. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee released over 600 pages of documents relating to the GM ignition switch recall early this week and it shows a number of deeply entrenched problems. Let's begin with a story we reported last week that said two engineers from GM, Gary Altman and Ray DeGiorgio were put on paid leave. We knew DeGiorgio was put on paid leave for testifying for not knowing the part change, even though he signed a document authorizing the change. But Altman was another question as we didn't know why he was put on paid leave. We now know that Altman was the engineer who bumped the key with his knee thanks to a complaint document filed in 2004. However, Altman was the one testified at the wrongful death trial of Brooke Melton that he did not feel the car was unsafe. Altman was also the one who rejected a fix for the switch because it was expensive and take too long. The documents also highlight that a number of GM employees tried to thwart an in-house investigationby Brian Stouffer, an investigator with GM. Bloomberg says the documents reveal a paper trail of pushback, inaccurate data and a lack of cooperation from co-workers into the ignition switch. One of the big question Stouffer was looking into was why airbag issues dropped after 2008. We know now that it was because GM had changed the part, but not the number. NHTSA was starting to suspect something was back in 2007. In a presentation on November 15, 2007, NHTSA's Defects Assessment Division (DAD) showed that the 2005 Cobalt had a higher than average airbag warranty than any other GM model. Then there is an email dated September 17 which says in one of the paragraphs, "Notwithstanding GM's indications that they see no specific problem pattern, DAD perceives a pattern of non-deployments in these vehicles that does not exist in their peers and that their circumstances are such that, in our engineering judgment, merited a deployment, and that such a deployment would have reduced injury levels or saved lives. NHTSA isn't impressed with GM's responses to their inquiries. In a email sent on July 23, 2013, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation chief Frank Borris wrote "The general perception is that GM is slow to communicate, slow to act, and at times, requires additional effort of ODI that we do not feel is necessary with some of your peers." This is a possible reason as to why NHTSA has started fining the company last week over their slow response to their questions. Now it should be noted that Mike Robinson, GM’s vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs said in email "comes like a bolt out of the blue.” That isn't only bad news hitting GM. Today, the company announced that two executives were stepping down. Selim Bingol, senior vice president of public policy and communications, and Melissa Howell, senior vice president for human resources, will “pursue other interests,” the company said in a statement. Bingol led GM’s public relations team since 2010 when he was appointed by then GM CEO Ed Whitacre. Howell has been with the company since 1990, and became Senior VP of HR last year. GM said Howell will be succeeded by John Quattrone, previously executive director of human resources for GM's global product development, purchasing, and supply chain operations. No successor has been named for Bingol at this time. Source: Bloomberg, Detroit Free Press, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, General Motors Press Release is on Page 2 GM Names Quattrone Senior VP, Global Human Resources Howell and Bingol to pursue interests outside company DETROIT – General Motors today named John J. Quattrone as Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources. Quattrone, currently executive director of Human Resources for Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain organizations, succeeds Melissa A. Howell who is leaving GM to pursue other interests. GM also announced that Selim Bingol, Senior Vice President, Global Communications and Public Policy, is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Quattrone's appointment, as well as Howell's and Bingol's departures are effective immediately. Quattrone, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., began his GM career in 1975 at the Fisher Body Syracuse Plant. Since then, he has held various positions in human resources and labor relations at GM. Quattrone was appointed General Director of Human Resources for North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing in September 1996. He was appointed GM North America¹s Vice President of Human Resources in 2001 and was GM Powertrain¹s Vice President of Human Resources prior to his current assignment. "John brings to the job a deep and rich breadth of experience across all levels of the enterprise," said GM CEO Mary Barra. "This background is invaluable as we create lasting change that puts the customer at the center of how we work and how we measure ourselves going forward." Quattrone received his Bachelor of Science degree from Le Moyne College and earned a Master of Science degree from West Virginia University. Quattrone serves on the board of directors of American Society of Employers and previously served on the board of directors of Health Grades, Inc. Barra praised Howell's contribution at a key time for the company. "Through Melissa's passion, the values that make up today's GM are now becoming a central part of how we develop and guide our employees around the world," said Barra. "We are deeply grateful for her dedication to GM and all that she did to help build a stronger HR function to support our people and business." Howell joined GM in 1990. She was named Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources in February 2013. Bingol was Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications at AT&T before joining GM in 2010 as Senior Vice President Global Communications. Global Public Policy was added to Bingol's portfolio in October 2012. During his tenure, Bingol guided the communications around GM's 2010 initial public offering, the largest in history at that time, as well as the introduction of several new products that have received widespread acclaim for quality, styling, and performance. "We appreciate Selim's service and for his helping tell the GM story during one of the most exciting periods in the company's history," said Barra. A successor to Bingol will be named later.
  15. Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent General Motors a 27 page document with 107 questions that dealt with the massive ignition switch recall that affects 2.8 million vehicles worldwide and is linked to 13 deaths. NHTSA gave the company a deadline of April 3rd to finish answering all of the questions. Well its a week after the deadline, NHTSA has announced it will fine GM $7,000 per day starting on April 3rd because the company hasn't answered all of the questions and being slow to respond. At this current time, the total fine stands at $28,000. In a letter released last night, NHTSA said General Motors hasn't answered a third of its questions, including several that required no special technical expertise such as what data it looked at when deciding not to issue a recall before this year. "These are basic questions concerning information that is surely readily available to GM at this time. It is deeply troubling that two months after recalling the vehicles, GM is unwilling or unable to tell NHTSA whether the design of the switch changed at any other time," said the agency. NHTSA also warned that it could ask the Department of Justice to force GM's hand. Now NHTSA does state that General Motors sent the agency a note on March 20th saying that it would need more time to answer the questions. Then on on April 4, GM told the agency that it wouldn't be able to answer all the questions since it has an ongoing outside investigation by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas. He is looking into GM's handling of the recall that goes back to 2001. As you might have guess, NHTSA isn't exactly pleased about this. “You explained that GM did not fully respond because an investigation by Anton Valukas and his team was in progress. This was the first time GM had ever raised Mr. Valukas’ work as a reason GM could not fully provide information to NHTSA in this timeliness investigation. Mr. Valukas’ investigation is irrelevant to GM’s legal obligation to timely respond to the special order and cooperate fully with NHTSA,” said NHTSA general counsel O. Kevin Vincent. General Motors spokesman Greg Martin tells The Detroit News the company has been fully cooperative by handing over 271,000 pages of information. “GM has produced nearly 21,000 documents totaling over 271,000 pages through a production process that spans a decade and over 5 million documents from 75 individual custodians and additional sources. Even NHTSA recognizes the breadth of its inquiry and has agreed, in several instances with GM, to a rolling production schedule of documents past the April 3rd deadline. We believe that NHTSA shares our desire to provide accurate and substantive responses. We will continue to provide responses and facts as soon as they become available and hope to go about this in a constructive manner. We will do so with a goal of being accurate as well as timely,” said Martin. Martin didn't say if the company would contest the fine or not. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, Motoramic William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  16. In light of GM's massive 1.6 million vehicle recall and Toyota's massive $1.2 billion settlement over the unattended acceleration problem, two U.S. Senators introduced legislation to require automakers to provide more information concerning incidents that involve the loss of human life. Senators Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut introduced the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act yesterday. The bill would require automobile and equipment manufacturers to submit accident reports or other documents automatically to NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting database. NHTSA cannot access this information unless they request them. The bill would also require NHTSA to make information it gets from automakers available in a searchable, user-friendly format so drivers and experts can look and evaluate potential defects. “A massive information breakdown at NHTSA has led to deadly vehicle breakdowns on our roads. The Department of Transportation has the authority to require critical safety information be made publicly available, but it has never used its authority. We need the Early Warning Reporting system to provide actual early warnings to ensure the public is informed and possible defects are fully investigated,” said Markey. Safety experts say this is a good start, but more needs to be done. “In light of the problems revealed with Toyota unintended acceleration and Cobalt air bags, we know EWR is broken and needs to be fixed. Auto companies have run millions of defective vehicles through loopholes in EWR, including not having to submit documents on deaths caused by defects when they first learn of them.” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  17. Both the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee announced this week they would start investigations into General Motors' ignition switch recall. The recall which affects 1.62 million vehicles worldwide has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths. The Detroit News reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York is heading up the Justice Department's investigation. This is the office that has been investigating Toyota's unattended acceleration recall since 2010 to determine whether or not the company misled Government officials over claims of sudden acceleration. According to two people familiar with the matter, the office's office’s criminal division deputy chief has reached out to lawyers to gather information for a possible subpoena to GM. This is a possible sign to a preliminary investigation. When asked for comment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and GM declined. The other investigation is coming from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee who is looking into why General Motors failed to act quickly on this problem. “Significant questions need to be answered. Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? If the answer is yes, we must learn how and why this happened, and then determine whether this system of reporting and analyzing complaints that Congress created to save lives is being implemented and working as the law intended,” said U.S. Representative Fred Upton, R-Michigan, chairman of the Committee. The committee is also looking into why National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ignored complaints over GM vehicles turning off via the faulty ignition switch. Source: The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  18. General Motors' problems with the 1.6 million vehicle recall over a faulty ignition switch are growing. This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sent a 27 page document with 107 questions asking about the recall and the timeline. Questions range from how the investigation process on the ignition "was not as robust as it should have been" to when GM decided to start investigating crashes with the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 where the air bag did not deploy. NHTSA has also requested documents ranging from complaints from owners to lawsuits involving GM vehicles in the recall. "We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us," NHTSA said in a statement. "In addition to getting NHTSA the information they need, we are doing what we can now to ensure our customers' safety and peace of mind. We want our customers to know that today's GM is committed to fixing this problem in a manner that earns their trust," said GM in a email statement to Automotive News. General Motors has until April 3rd to comply with the document. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), NHTSA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release and NHTSA's Special Order document is on Page 2 "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued General Motors LLC a Special Order as part of a Timeliness Query investigation of the automaker. The Special Order is part of the agency’s ongoing investigation into the timeliness of General Motors’ recall of faulty ignition switches to determine whether GM properly followed the legal processes and requirements for reporting recalls. General Motors’ response to this Special Order must be provided to NHTSA by April 3, 2014. We are a data-driven organization, and we will take whatever action is appropriate based on where our findings lead us."
  19. Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced they would open a formal investigation into the timeliness of GM's ignition switch recall. The recall affects over 1.6 million vehicles which are, 2005-07 Chevrolet Cobalt 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR 2005-07 Pontiac G5 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice 2003-07 Saturn Ion 2006-07 Saturn Sky In a statement, NHTSA says “opened an investigation into the timeliness of General Motors’ recall of faulty ignition switches to determine whether GM properly followed the legal processes and requirements for reporting recalls.” This investigation could cost GM dearly. The Detroit News reports NHTSA could issue a maximum fine of $35 million if it failed to recall the vehicles because of a safety defect within five days. Documents filed by GM to federal regulators this week say they knew about the problem back in 2004 as the 2005 Cobalt was hitting dealerships. "We deeply regret the events that led to the recall and this investigation. We intend to fully cooperate with NHTSA, and we welcome the opportunity to help the agency have a full understanding of the facts. Today’s GM is committed to learning from the past while embracing the highest standards now and in the future," said GM in a statement. The Detroit News also reports that GM has hired an law firm to conduct a full review. The review will look at the decisions made by GM concerning their handling of this problem. Source: The Detroit News, (2) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  20. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has submitted revised rule to the White House and missed two self imposed deadlines. We'll start with the revised rule. On December 25th, NHTSA submitted a revised rule which could cause automakers to make backup cameras standard on vehicles. The regulation would set new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States. Details on the regulation were not given. This is aimed at reducing the number of kids being run over and killed when a vehicle is put into reverse. Automotive News says that automakers might install backup cameras on their whole line dependent on how strict the regulations are. NHTSA hopes to have a rule finalized by next January. As for the two missed self imposed deadlines, The Detroit News reports that NHTSA missed deadlines on automatic braking and requiring vehicle to vehicle communication in the next-generation of vehicles. Last January, then NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said he planned to make a decision by December 31 on whether or not the agency would make automakers to install devices to allow vehicles to communicate with each other as a way to avoid collisions. The added benefit of this tech is the improvement in traffic flow. “The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have made significant progress in determining the best course of action for proceeding with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communication activities and expect to announce a decision in the coming weeks,” said NHTSA. NHTSA and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted a 3,000 car study looking at this tech. Then in May, Strickland said a decision would be made at the end of year as to whether or not new vehicles should be required to have automatic braking systems to prevent forward collisions. This technology has been shown to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the roads. At this time, no decision has been made on this. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  21. November 19th, 2013 Drew Dowdell Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com Following three high profile fires, two in the United States and one in Mexico, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced today that the agency has opened a formal probe into the safety or the Tesla Model-S electric car. The investigation centers around "undercarriage strikes" where metal road debris run over by the car pierced the battery compartment and caused a catastrophic runaway reaction resulting in the total loss of the vehicle. In the NHTSA announcement, they point out that in all cases, the vehicle provided ample audio and visual warnings to the driver well before the battery Tesla's vocal CEO and founder, Elon Musk, maintains that the Model-S is still safer than any gasoline powered vehicle available for sale and points out that thousands of gasoline powered vehicles have been destroyed by fires caused by ruptured fuel tanks. Tesla announced today, before the NHTSA release, that it would be asking the agency to conduct an investigation into the fires. Additionally, Tesla would be amending warranty coverage to include damage due to a battery fire. Telsa will send a software update to all Model-S to use the air suspension to raise the ride height.
  22. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 15, 2013 A new mandate issued by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will make it somewhat easier for owners to access recall information on their vehicle. Announced yesterday, the mandate will require automakers to offer a free online tool that allows an owner to search recall information via a vehicle identification number or VIN. This allows an owner to instantly determine if their vehicle is involved in recall or not. "Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in that effort. Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete, using our free online search at SaferCar.gov," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The mandate doesn't go into effect until August 14, 2014. Source: NHTSA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 NHTSA to Provide Free VIN Searches to Help Consumers Check Cars, Light Trucks and Motorcycles for Uncompleted Recalls Free Vehicle Identification Number search will improve safety and inform purchasing decisions WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced its plans to require automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free online tool that will enable them to search recall information by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) starting next year. "Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in that effort," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete, using our free online search at SaferCar.gov." In an ongoing effort to better provide consumers with specific vehicle safety information, NHTSA today issued a final rule that will require all major automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with online access to recall information on vehicles searchable by VIN. This information must be updated at least weekly. Consumers will be able to instantly determine whether action is required to address an uncompleted safety recall that affects their personal vehicle, as identified by their unique VIN. While several automakers already offer this feature, those who do not, will have until next year (8/14/14) to comply with the final rule. This new search feature will also be available on the nation's only official automotive safety website www.safercar.gov. Currently, consumers are limited to general searches by vehicle make and model year on the NHTSA website. With the new VIN search feature, consumers will be able to tell whether a specific vehicle is subject to a recall and whether the vehicle has received the remedy. "Every day NHTSA is working for the American consumer to ensure that automakers and motorcycle manufacturers address safety defects and non-compliances, and that they also recall affected vehicles in a timely manner," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "By making individual VIN searches readily available, we're providing another service to car, light truck and motorcycle owners and potential owners – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying, is safe." Today's announcement builds on NHTSA's current efforts to provide consumers with information to help them make informed decisions, including the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 5-Star Ratings System, and the new SaferCar mobile app, which provides on-the-spot information on crash protection features, advanced safety features, and recalls on new vehicles and many older models. This final rule requires large volume car, light truck and motorcycle manufacturers to provide search capability for uncompleted safety recalls on their websites. In addition, the rule will require manufacturers to inform NHTSA about exactly what type of propulsion system and crash avoidance technologies vehicles have. This new information will assist NHTSA's efforts to spot defect trends related to those systems and technologies. Manufacturers also will be required to provide vehicle owners with direct notice of recalls within 60 days of notifying NHTSA that a recall is occurring. The Final Rule to Amend 49 CFR Parts 573, 577, and 579, Early Warning, Foreign Defect Report Regulations, and Safety Recall Regulations will be posted on the Federal Register accessible here.
  23. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 24, 2013 The federal mandate for new vehicles to come equipped with backup cameras has been delayed, once again. According to Automotive News, the mandate has been pushed back to 2015 due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examining the cost of implementing this mandate. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, said in a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that more analysis on how much this rule will cost automakers is necessary. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the cost of implementing the rule would be around $2.7 billion. Automakers aren't fully happy with this regulation due to the cost and that the regulation should apply to large vehicles, not all of them. "Automakers are providing cameras in cars today for greater vision and for new driver assists, and consumers should decide how best to spend their safety dollars on these technologies. This is a decision for consumers," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Regulators are considering giving out incentives in their safety ratings to vehicles that have a backup camera. Currently, regulators give out incentives to those that have electronic stability control. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  24. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 18, 2013 A few weeks ago, Chrysler put on a defying stance by saying no to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration order to recall about 2.7 million Jeep SUVs due to concerns of fires erupting from rear-end collisions. "Chrysler Group has been working and sharing data with the Agency on this issue since September 2010. The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective," the company said in a statement. Today, the company changed course and announced they would recall the 2.7 million Jeep SUVs (1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty). Chrysler dealers will do an inspection on the affected vehicles, and the rear structure will be upgraded if necessary. Chrysler still disagrees with NHTSA that a safety defect is apparent. "Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group. Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles." Source: Chrysler William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Chrysler Group and NHTSA Resolve Recall Request June 18, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resolved their differences with respect to NHTSA’s request to recall 1993-2004 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty vehicles. As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts. Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group. Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles. Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families.
  25. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com June 4, 2013 In a surprising form of defiance, Chrysler has said no the demand made by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Liberties due to fuel tanks that could catch on fire in a rear end accident. NHTSA has been investigating since 2010 and alleges that 1993 through 2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002 through 2007 Liberty are more prone to fuel leaks and fires. In its analysis, NHTSA found that 51 deaths involved Grand Cherokees and Liberties in rear-end accidents that caught on fire. NHTSA alleges the reasons for this are the tanks being made out of plastic and being placed behind the rear axle. In a statement released today, Chrysler says they do "not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective." Chrysler goes onto say their "vehicles met and exceeded all applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including FMVSS 301, pertaining to fuel-system integrity." Also, the company says in their tests the problem occurs less than once for every million years of vehicle operation and argues that NHTSA's analysis of the problem is not complete. So what happens next? Motoramic reports that NHTSA could hold a public hearing and declare the two vehicles defective. The agency could also take Chrysler to court to force the recall. It's a game of chicken and the question is, who blinks first? Source: Motoramic, Chrysler Chrysler's Press Release and White Paper is on Page 2 Chrysler Group LLC Responds to NHTSA Recall Letter June 4, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued a recall request letter proposing that Chrysler Group recall the Jeep Grand Cherokee in model years 1993 to 2004 and the Jeep Liberty in model years 2002 to 2007 (a total of approximately 2.7 million vehicles). Chrysler Group has been working and sharing data with the Agency on this issue since September 2010. The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective. We believe NHTSA’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the Agency to resolve this disagreement. “The safety of drivers and passengers has long been the first priority for Chrysler brands and that commitment remains steadfast,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC. “The company stands behind the quality of its vehicles. All of us remain committed to continue working with NHTSA to provide information confirming the safety of these vehicles.” Chrysler Group’s position on this matter is clear. These vehicles met and exceeded all applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including FMVSS 301, pertaining to fuel-system integrity. Our analysis shows the incidents, which are the focus of this request, occur less than once for every million years of vehicle operation. This rate is similar to comparable vehicles produced and sold during the time in question. Chrysler Group stands behind the quality and safety of its vehicles. It conducts voluntary recalls when they are warranted, and in most cases, before any notice or investigation request from NHTSA. Customers who have questions or concerns can call the Chrysler Group’s customer care line: 1-800-334-9200.

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