Fiat Chrysler Faces $105m Fine

Fiat Chrysler Faces $105m Fine
Fiat Chrysler Faces $105m Fine

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles faces a record $105 million fine for its handling of recent recalls and will be overseen by an independent safety monitor under sweeping penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to media reports.

The company will also be required, in some cases, to buy back some vehicles as part of the government’s probe into Fiat Chrysler's handling of nearly two dozen recalls covering 11 million light vehicles. The recalled vehicles include older Jeep models with rear fuel tanks that have been linked to numerous fatal fires.

The penalties and settlement between Fiat Chrysler and NHTSA were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Under terms of the deal with regulators, Fiat Chrysler plans to offer cash to encourage owners of the older Jeeps with rear fuel tanks to have repairs made. In some cases, the company will offer additional money on top of the value of their vehicle if they decide to trade it in, the Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

NHTSA is expected to announce the fine and other penalties, part of a consent order, as early as Monday, reports said.

Under the terms of the consent order, the company can recover a portion of the fine if certain conditions are met, the Journal said.

The financial penalties are not tied to the handling of specific recalls but cover inadequate and lagging repairs; misleading and obstructing regulators; and failing to notify car owners of recalls in a timely manner, the Journal reported.

Fiat Chrysler has been in talks with NHTSA over the penalties for several weeks after the agency held a hearing into the company's recall and safety practices earlier this month.

At the hearing this month into Fiat Chrysler's safety practices and recent recalls, Scott Kunselman, senior vice president of vehicle safety and regulatory affairs for the company, acknowledged Fiat Chrysler has fallen short while handling recalls and said NHTSA officials had "legitimate" concerns about the automaker's practices.