D his July should go down in the history books at Fiat-Chrysler. With a fine of US $ 105 million and an unprecedented buyback, the company was sentenced to a record fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Around 500,000 RAM pickups from the years of construction 2009 to 2012 are affected. The background is problems with the steering of the vehicles, which can lead to failure of the steering.
Buyback of 500,000 RAM pickups
Instead of a normal recall, the order to buy the affected vehicles back from customers is unique in this dimension in the USA. Fiat-Chrylser has to buy the RAM pickups from the owners at the current market value, but the owners also have the option of having the repair costs reimbursed. Also affected by this buyback campaign are the 2009 models of the Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango as well as the Dodge Dakota Pickup from 2009 to 2011. Market experts have calculated that this campaign would cost Fiat-Chrysler billions of dollars if all affected vehicles were purchased . This sum could, however, be reduced accordingly by reselling it after repairs.
In addition, Fiat-Chrysler was obliged to give owners of more than one million Jeeps, including the Grand Cherokee model series, a trade-in for the vehicle above the market value or offer financial compensation. This is about the positioning of the vehicle tank in the rear, which, according to the NHTSA, represents an excessive risk of a vehicle fire in the event of a rear impact. US authorities have linked at least 75 deaths from a serious rear-end collision to this matter. The group, on the other hand, sticks to its position that the location of the tank assembly on the affected vehicles is a common construction method for all manufacturers.
Trade-in of a million Jeeps
That alone would be a disaster for the group's finances, but July 2015 brought more mega-recalls for Fiat-Chrysler in the USA. Most recently, the 'hack' of a Jeep Cherokee caused a sensation worldwide, for a software updateFiat-Chrysler has currently ordered 1.4 million vehicles to the workshops.
The current RAM pickup has also been affected a million times over in the latest July recall campaigns: with around 670,000 RAM from years of construction since 2012, a crash sensor has to be recalibrated, which otherwise could trigger the side airbags suddenly. Another 1,060,531 RAM pickups from the years 2011 to 2014 have to go to the workshop because a cable for the airbag control in the steering wheel could chafe through and trigger the airbag.
The additional fine of $ 105 million is the highest ever NHTSA imposed. It is justified with a violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This was preceded by a hearing at the beginning of July, at which representatives of the group admitted delays and lack of information in connection with 23 product recalls, which affected a total of around eleven million vehicles.