Fiat Chrysler names new North American safety chief
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Friday named a 30-year company veteran as its new head of North American safety and regulatory compliance.
Michael Dahl, current director of Gasoline/Diesel Engine Programs and Global Powertrain Coordination, will become head of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance, effective Dec. 1.
Dahl, 52, replaces Senior Vice President of Safety and Regulatory Affairs Scott Kunselman, 52, who announced plans in October to leave at the end of this month.
Prior to overseeing the development and launch of the automaker’s engines, Dahl was director of Supplier Quality.
Dahl joined the company in 1985 as part of the Chrysler Institute of Engineering program. He has held a series of positions of increasing responsibility with an emphasis on powertrain engineering, controls and electronics.
The appointment comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July hit Chrysler with a record $105 million penalty for violating laws in 23 recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. The company also is under investigation for failing to report some deaths and injuries to the agency as required by law.
The agency said Fiat Chrysler repeatedly violated laws governing auto safety defects and often kept NHTSA “in the dark.” It said those problems hindered NHTSA from properly doing its job and potentially put car owners at risk.
The agency said Fiat Chrysler failed to properly notify car owners and NHTSA of recalls in a timely fashion, and did not ensure there were adequate parts. It said Fiat Chrysler initiated recall fixes that did not work. In one case, the automaker suspended a recall campaign and asked dealers to return parts for quality verification without notifying NHTSA. Fiat Chrysler owners have waited 18 months for replacement parts to get some recall repairs completed.
The penalty came more than a year after Fiat Chrysler announced it was reorganizing its vehicle safety efforts into a new unit led by a senior vice president who will report directly to Marchionne. Fiat Chrysler said it was establishing a new office of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance led by Kunselman.