Fiat Chrysler has been hit with a $70 million federal fine for failing the submit legally required safety data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The fine announced Thursday came three months after the automaker admitted that for several years, it had not provided data required by law on deaths and injuries, warranty claims, owner complaints and reports on other safety issues.
“Accurate, early-warning reporting is a legal requirement, and it’s also part of a manufacturer’s obligation to protect the safety of the traveling public,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We need [Fiat Chrysler] and other auto makers to move toward a stronger, more proactive safety culture, and when they fall short, we will continue to exercise our enforcement authority to set them on the right path.”
Fiat Chrysler set a record this year in recalling 11 million vehicles in the United States, a total of 38 different recalls. The automaker agreed to a separate $105 million settlement with NHTSA over its handling of those recalls.
When the failures to report required safety information was revealed this summer, Fiat Chrysler issued a statement saying “it takes this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur.”
NHTSA said Thursday that the new penalty and the earlier settlement brought the combined penalties to $175 million. Of that, NHTSA said, $140 million is due in cash and another $35 million in deferred penalties that will come due if the company fails to meet obligations specified in the consent order.
“NHTSA’s enforcement actions in recent months have been designed not only to penalize previous actions, but to increase safety going forward,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. Fiat Chrysler “has expressed a desire to use this situation as a stepping stone to a stronger, more proactive safety posture, and NHTSA is ready to work with [Fiat Chrysler] and the industry as a whole to improve safety.”
NHTSA has penalized five vehicle makers in the past 14 months for failure to meet early warning reporting requirements. In addition to Fiat Chrysler , it has issued penalties to automakers Honda and Ferrari, motorcycle manufacturer Triumph, and specialty vehicle manufacturers Forest River and Spartan Motors.