NHTSA extends safety meetings with Fiat Chrysler

Michael Wayland and Keith Laing
The Detroit News

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will continue monthly meetings with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV regarding its safety and recall practices for another year.

The federal vehicle safety watchdog said in a letter to FCA made public on Friday that it is exercising its option to renew the monthly submissions and monthly meetings outlined in a 2015 consent order for an additional year.

NHTSA said in the July 15 letter that “the monthly submissions and meetings required by the Consent Order have been an important part of ensuring that FCA is taking appropriate actions to proactively identify, evaluate and address safety issues.

“The monthly submissions and meetings facilitate NHTSA’s oversight of these improvements and help to ensure the changes FCA has made and continues to make to its processes, analytics and culture are effective,” NHTSA Acting Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement Kerry Kolodziej said in the letter. He said said the continuation is not based on a concern about FCA’s performance to date.

According to the terms of the three-year deal, NHTSA could have decided to no longer require the meetings or submissions after the first year, but maintain all other aspects of the consent order.

FCA US — the company’s North American-based operations — on Friday confirmed that it has received the notification from the highway safety agency.

“As stated in NHTSA’s letter to FCA US, ‘NHTSA’s exercise of its option to renew these requirements is not based on a concern about FCA’s performance to date, but rather to facilitate continued communication between FCA and NHTSA on potential defect issues,’ ” the company said.

The consent order was reached as part of a $105 million settlement with NHTSA over its handling of nearly two dozen recalls covering 11 million vehicles. The deal included sweeping changes to the company’s training and recall procedures, including an independent monitor to reform and oversee safety efforts, lead industry-wide safety and research efforts and hold regular meetings with NHTSA on safety issue.


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