Feds Hit Chrysler for Slow Repairs on 10 Million Recalled Vehicles


U.S. auto safety regulators announced a rare public hearing into 20 Fiat-Chrysler safety recalls, saying it has found evidence of slow repairs or bad fixes on problems covering 10.1 million cars and trucks.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA) Mark Rosekind said while the agency’s probe was sparked by long-running concerns over Fiat-Chrysler’s recall of 1.5 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs to reduce the chance of fire in a rear-end collision, it was the scope of the problems the agency found well beyond that case which left it surprised.

NHTSA “has significant concerns about Fiat-Chrysler’s performance,” Rosekind said. “Our target, and the only sensible target is a remedy of every defect vehicle on the road, at no cost to the consumer, in a timely fashion.”

The recalls targeted by NHTSA date back to February 2013, and involve problems ranging from metal shards in Takata air bags to fires in headliners. The agency ordered Fiat-Chrysler to answer several questions about each recall under oath, including how many fixes have been made and what steps have been taken to reach customers, by June 1. The agency will then hold a public hearing July 2. 

Rosekind noted that late last year, NHTSA had urged Chrysler to speed [up] repairs in the Jeep fire issue, where it had said it would offer owners a trailer hitch that would help protect gas tanks from impacts. In the first three months of this year, Chrysler fixed 133,731 Jeeps — only about 7,700 more than it had in the quarter prior to NHTSA’s request.

Typically about three-fourths of vehicles covered by a recall are actually fixed, since automakers have no central database of owners, and many who do get notified don’t have the repairs made. Fiat-Chrysler said in a statement that it would cooperate with the agency, but added that its performance on fixing recalled models matched the rest of the industry.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo.

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