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Car and Driver: NHTSA Fines Fiat-Chrysler $70 Million for Second Time This Year

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Fiat-Chrysler has been fined $70 million for failing to provide the U.S. government with sufficient safety data over the past 12 years. It is FCA’s second $70 million fine and one of four levied against automakers and suppliers this year, an unglamorous record for an industry that is otherwise having a very good year.

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In May, the Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating 23 FCA recalls over allegations that they’d been issued too late. By July, NHTSA fined FCA $70 million (plus an additional $35 million in deferred fees and required safety-related investments). The new fine covers FCA’s admission that it underreported warranty claims, owner complaints, deaths, and injuries dating back to 2003. Known as Early Warning Reports (EWR), all large-volume automakers have been required since 2003 to file such quarterly reports so that NHTSA (and the automakers) can analyze potential problems.

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FCA said its software did not account for new brands after the Fiat takeover and used “improper coding” to log issues, among other problems. Honda was fined $70 million in January for missing EWR data (and, similarly, Ferrari $3.5 million in 2014). Takata, the supplier behind the exploding airbag inflator recalls, was fined $70 million last month for providing incomplete data and failing to report the defect within five days.

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Within 30 days, FCA must pay the $70 million in full, unlike Takata, which curiously was given a five-year payment plan (NHTSA offers no explanation). Within eight months, FCA must turn in all the missing data. The automaker did not issue any comment.

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