Posts Tagged ‘Recalls’

Honda Fined $70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that as a result of a NHTSA investigation, Honda will pay two $35 million civil penalties, for a total of $70 million, for failing to report deaths, injuries, and certain warranty claims to the federal government in violation of the TREAD Act. In the Consent Order, Honda also agreed to increased NHTSA oversight and third party audits to ensure that all required reporting is completed now and into the future. In 2014 alone, NHTSA issued more than $126 million in civil penalties, exceeding the total amount collected by the agency during its forty-three year history.  These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road. NHTSA’s investigation into Honda’s safety reporting found that the automaker failed to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues. The first civil penalty is a result of Honda’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to NHTSA between 2003 and 2014. The second civil penalty is due to the manufacturer’s failure to report certain warranty claims and claims under customer satisfaction campaigns throughout the same time period. Additional details are available in the audit report prepared for Honda by Bowman and Brooke and in Honda’s Response to NHTSA’s Special Order addressing the violations. Federal law requires manufacturers to submit comprehensive EWR reports of potential safety concerns to the Department. These quarterly reports include production information; incidents involving a death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and, copies of field reports involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover. The data are then used to investigate whether safety defects or defect trends exist and warrant further action, including possible recalls. In addition to civil penalties, Honda has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements under a Consent Order. It requires that Honda develop written procedures for compliance with EWR requirements, train appropriate personnel on at least an annual basis, and complete two third-party audits of the automaker’s compliance with its reporting obligations. The Consent Order also requires Honda to provide NHTSA’s Early Warning Division with information regarding the 1,729 unreported death and injury incidents and the warranty claims, so that the agency can analyze these incidents for potential safety concerns and take appropriate action to protect America’s driving public. While 2014 was a record year for civil penalties, the fines are limited by a Congressionally-established $35 million dollar cap, the amount Honda will pay for each of the two series of violations. The Administration’s four-year reauthorization bill – the GROW AMERICA Act – proposes to increase the limit to $300 million. The Administration’s proposal also seeks additional authority to aid NHTSA in its efforts to force recalls. NHTSA issued the following civil penalties in 2014:
  • Honda, $70,000,000, for failing to both submit early warning reports and warranty claims.
  • Gwinnett Place Nissan, $110,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Inc, $3,500,000, for failing to submit early warning reports.
  • Chapman Chevrolet LLC, $50,000, for failing to perform recall remedy in new motor vehicles prior to sale and delivery.
  • Hyundai Motor America, $17,350,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $35,000,000, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
  • General Motors Company, $441,000, for failing to fully respond to Special Order by due date.
  • Prevost, a division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc; Volvo Industrial de Mexico S.A. de C.V.; and Prevost Car (US) Inc., $250,000, the second of six annual installments of a total of $1.5 million in civil penalties, for untimely recalls and untimely submission of early warning reports, and technical service bulletins (TSBs).
  • Southern Honda Powersports (a/k/a Big Red Powersports LLC), $25,000, the second of five annual installments of a total of $125, 000 in civil penalties, for the sale of unrepaired, recalled vehicles.

U.S. Department of Transportation Unveils New, Free, Online Search Tool for Recalls Using Vehicle Identification Number

Each year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled a new, free, online search tool consumers can use to find out if a vehicle is directly impacted by a recall. The new tool is available on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched. Also effective today, under the new NHTSA mandate, all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers are required to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. This data must be updated at least weekly. NHTSA’s new VIN look-up tool directly relies on information from all major automakers, and regularly updated information from the automakers is critical to the efficacy of the search tool. Consumers can find their vehicle identification number by looking at the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle, or on the driver’s side door on the door post where the door latches when it is closed. “Just as every single automaker should never hesitate to recall a defective vehicle, consumers should never hesitate to get their recalled vehicle fixed,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. “By making individual VIN searches readily available, we’re providing another service to consumers – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying or renting, is free of safety defects.”