Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has admitted its failures and agreed to buy back thousands of its defective vehicles, but the manufacturer will still have to pay a multi-million dollar fine and has agreed to have its performance of these mandates monitored independently, according to a press release by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Indeed, the Italian-American manufacturer has recently come under fire by the US government for its many public safety failures and poor performance, but this starting month it has begun taking steps to remedy these issues as it tries to earn back the trust of consumers.
Fiat Chrysler has been ordered to buy back nearly 193,000 vehicles including Ram pickup trucks, Dodge SUVs and Jeeps after the manufacturer failed to adequately fix the vehicles despite more than a dozen recalls made through 2013. It was that year that the manufacturer issued recall notices for roughly 580,000 Ram pickups and SUVs.
The automaker has already fixed about 280,000 of them that will not be subject to this current buyback program — one labeled as the most expensive in US history. Indeed, Fiat Chrysler is expected to pay up to $1 billion to remedy its past mistakes.
Fiat Chrysler has also been handed a $105 million civil fine for its failure to properly handle some 23 safety recalls for its vehicles totaling roughly 11 million cars and trucks. The auto maker was found in violation of multiple rules under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act including its failure to repair vehicles with safety defects as well as buy back defective models from owners.
Additionally, Fiat Chrysler will have to pay the owners of roughly a million older-model Jeeps Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs designed with rear-mounted gas tanks to have their vehicles fixed or grade them in. There have been 75 deaths attributed to fiery crashes involving these vehicles. The Jeep’s gas tanks may rupture in a rear-end crash and erupt in a fire. Only about 20 percent of the affected Jeep vehicles have had repairs made.
Also, the recall includes certain Dodge models with defective parts in the steering system, causing driver to lose control of the car.
“Today’s action holds Fiat Chrysler accountable for its past failures, pushes them to get unsafe vehicles repaired or off the roads and takes concrete steps to keep Americans safer going forward,” said Secretary Foxx. “This civil penalty puts manufacturers on notice that the Department will act when they do not take their obligations to repair safety defects seriously.”
Finally, the performance of Fiat Chrysler’s efforts to remedy this situation will be overseen for the next three years by an independent monitor approved by the NHTSA.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Models Eligible for Buyback
Dodge Ram 1500 (2009 to 2012).
Dodge Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4 X 4 (2008).
Dodge Ram 2500 4 X 4, 3500 4 X 4, 4500 4 X 4, and 5500 4 X 4 (2008 to 2012).
Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs (2009)
Dodge Dakota pickup (2009 through 2011).
Jeep Liberty (2002 to 2007)
Jeep Cherokee (1993 to 1998)