VIDEO: Feds Probe Fiat Chrysler Recall Performance

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced plans to hold a public hearing on July 2 to determine whether Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US) has failed to adequately fix safety defects associated with 20 different recalls.

For a list of the 20 recalls involved, click here. 

NHTSA said it scheduled the hearing in response to problems and concerns related to how FCA US has handled the safety recalls. The federal safety agency noted it has received consumer complaints alleging replacement part unavailability, lack of recall notification, difficulty obtaining service appointments at dealerships, and misinformation from dealers.

“It is not enough to identify defects. Manufacturers have to fix them,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “Significant questions have been raised as to whether this company is meeting its obligations to protect the drivers from safety defects, and today we are launching a process to ensure that those obligations are met."

NHTSA also issued a special order to FCA US, directing the company to provide information about its recall performance. 

"The Company is fully aligned with NHTSA's desire to promote efficient execution of vehicle recalls and enhance completion rates," FCA US said in a statement released May 19. "We look forward to providing a comprehensive response to NHTSA’s inquiry with respect to the cited campaigns consistent with the Company’s longstanding commitment to transparency. FCA US will continue to cooperate with NHTSA in its efforts to identify ways in which it can more quickly identify issues, determine fixes and execute campaigns."

During the July 2 hearing, representatives from NHTSA, FCA US and the general public will be permitted to present evidence about the automaker’s performance in each recall. Based on this and other evidence, NHTSA will determine whether the company has met its legal obligations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the agency said.

“Any auto defect that compromises the safety of our driving public is unacceptable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Auto manufacturers are obligated to effectively remedy safety defects when they are discovered, and if they fail in that responsibility, we are obligated to act.”

For example, NHTSA could order actions aimed at improving the automaker’s performance, including the buy-back or replacement of affected vehicles.

To view a Bloomberg video report on the issue, click on the photo or link below the headline.