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Feds Fine Fiat Chrysler $70 Million

DETROIT, Mich. – The federal agency in charge of vehicle safety in the U.S. has leveled a $70 million civil penalty on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the company’s failure to report some legally required safety data, reports mlive.com

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the penalty Thursday. It follows FCA’s admission in September that it had at times failed to provide Early Warn Report data to NHTSA.

NHTSA uses that data to spot potential defects and issue safety recalls.

“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “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.”

The latest fine is in addition to a $105 million penalty the agency announced in July. Together, FCA now owes $175 million in civil penalties, including $140 million due in cash and $35 million due later if it does not meet certain requirements of a July consent order.

One of those requirements is for FCA to provide results of a third-party audit it hired to determine the full extent of the reporting error. The automaker also must provide any missing early-warning data.

As part of the consent order, FCA also acknowledges failure in early warning reporting, dating back to 2003.

The government investigation ultimately looked into 23 recalls covering 11 million cars by FCA.

FCA is the fifth company in the last 14 months to be penalized by NHTSA for failure to meet early warning reporting requirements. The agency has also penalized Honda, Ferrari, motorcycle maker Triumph and specialty vehicle makers Forest River and Spartan Motors.

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