Fiat Fiasco

Currently, the U.S. is home to 13 auto manufacturers who produced an average of over 8 million passenger vehicles annually from 2008 to 2012. Last year alone, 16.4 million units were sold – the highest sales since 2006. That’s a lot of rivalry for limited consumer dollars. Unfortunately, among all those blaring ads touting the latest sale at the local dealership, false promises from competitive manufacturers have begun popping up. The latest dilemma comes on the heels of the Volkswagen emissions scandal and involves Fiat Chrysler who has admitted that it violated federal rules by significantly underreporting the number of death and injury claims linked to possible defects in its cars. Although no details on the exact number of claims, car accidents or the time period in which they occurred have yet been released, it appears that Fiat Chrysler’s systems for gathering and reporting the claims data are flawed. The discovery stems from a recent investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) determining that Fiat Chrysler failed to meet its legal obligations regarding 23 recall campaigns that involved more than 11 million vehicles. The automaker approved a $105 million settlement over its handling of the recalls and agreed to overhaul its internal safety operations, which revealed the reporting problems.

Under the Early Warning System put in place in 2000 by the Tread Act, automakers are required to compile claims they receive that blame vehicle defects for serious injuries or deaths.
Federal regulators are expected to use this underreporting incident as a basis for meeting with other automakers to highlight the government’s commitment to cracking down on safety violations. Consumers are entitled to rely on the safety ratings advertised by the manufacturer and should not be left with a false sense of security because it turns out that those ratings aren’t accurate. If you own a vehicle manufactured by Chrysler, take a minute to visit the Chrysler website or the NHTSA website to check your VIN number for safety recalls. Various Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models have been recalled over the past few years, including more than 1.7 million Dodge Ram truck models just last month. At the Johnson Law Firm, we have successfully represented victims throughout Kentucky who have been seriously hurt by defective products. We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones to defective cars and trucks. Since 1998, we have been helping injured consumers put their lives back on track, and we are ready to help you. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions about this topic, call 606-437-4488 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

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