Fiat Chrysler recently agreed to pay a record fine and buy back a certain group of trucks as part of a settlement with the federal government. The settlement was worked out as part of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into how Fiat Chrysler handled 23 separate recalls. The investigation found that the company frequently delayed responding to safety problems, and when it finally did order a recall, the recalls often took a great deal of time and the recall rates were very low.
As part of the settlement, Fiat Chrysler agreed to improve its safety practices, and agreed that an independent observer will be appointed to oversee the improvements. The company will also pay a record $105 million in penalties and fines. Fiat Chrysler will also be able to repair certain older-model Jeeps with rear-mounted gas tanks, or owners can trade them in. Owners of Jeep Grand Cherokees sold between 1999 and 2004 will be offered a $100 gift card if they bring their vehicles in for inspection to see if they need to be repaired. Owners of Jeep Grand Cherokees sold between 1993 and 1998 may get a $1,000 trade-in incentive above the fair market value of the vehicle.
The most surprising part of the settlement is the buyback program – Fiat Chrysler must offer to buy back certain Dodge Ram pickup trucks and other vehicles. Certain model year 2008-2012 Dodge Rams, 2009 Chrysler Aspens, 2009 Dodge Durangos, and 2009-2011 Dodge Dakotas are all eligible for the buyback. The company must give the vehicle owner the purchase price of the vehicle, minus depreciation, in exchange for the vehicle. Those vehicles have suspension problems that could lead to a sudden and unexpected loss of steering control.
These record-breaking penalties from the NHTSA show how seriously the agency is finally taking vehicle safety and vehicle recalls. Over the past decade, several car companies purposely hid information from the public about how dangerous their vehicles were, resulting in many deaths and serious personal injuries.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, call the personal injury attorneys at the Barber Law Firm at 972-231-5800. We will provide you with a free consultation on your case, and you pay us nothing unless we win.