Category: Congress

By on July 27, 2015


In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

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By on July 16, 2015

US Senate Wing of the Capitol

U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be driven, as long as those defects were disclosed to consumers. NHTSA asked lawmakers to consider the proposal on pulling defective cars off the road in February.

The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.

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By on July 14, 2015

Hummer H3. Photo courtesy

Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation.

Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire.

GM knew about the problem in 2008, Jalopnik writes, and did nothing until issuing a recall this July.

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By on July 12, 2015

Barack Obama + Connected Vehicles

Car dealerships may be forced to pay some of their employees more under new overtime rules proposed by President Barack Obama, Automotive News is reporting.

The proposed overhaul for employees who make less than $50,000 a year could impact dealers who make a significant portion of their earnings from salary, rather than commission.

The suggested overtime rules would apply to roughly 40 percent of the American workforce, rather than the 8 percent the current rules apply to now. The Department of Labor estimates more than 5 million workers would be covered by the new rules.

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By on July 12, 2015

All you need is love. Strickland. Picture courtesy detnews.comThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is blocking former chief David Strickland from testifying in a California civil lawsuit for Toyota on issues regarding its push-button start systems in some of its cars.

According to the Detroit News, NHTSA officials told lawyers in a letter that Strickland would be barred from testifying in the case as an expert witness.

“The agency has been roundly criticized for its relationship with Toyota in terms of recent enforcement actions, particularly regarding unintended acceleration,” NHTSA’s lawyer wrote in the letter. “Given this history, Mr. Strickland’s testimony as a former NHTSA administrator describing Toyota’s actions or conduct in this matter with approval, will likely diminish the agency’s ability to pursue a vigorous enforcement review of Toyota moving forward.”

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By on July 10, 2015

A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch


Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee.

A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall fines and more. A less-aggressive proposal put forward by Republicans would require dealers to notify owners if their cars have been recalled, something most automakers already do but aren’t required by law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of recalls are never completed.

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By on July 3, 2015

1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million.

Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand Cherokees with rear-mounted gas tanks that could leak fuel if struck in a high-speed rear collision and potentially catch fire. Also of importance is the rate at which Jeep notified its owners of the recall.

FCA’s Senior Vice President for Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance Scott Kunselman said at the hearing that FCA “could have done better in carrying out the campaigns.”

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By on June 12, 2015

Factory Five Mk4 Roadster

Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model.

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By on June 2, 2015

Mark Rosekind At Work With The NTSB Circa January 2015

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function.

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By on April 29, 2015

US Senate Wing of the Capitol

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a whistleblower bill that would incentivize those in the auto industry to blow the whistle on potential safety problems.

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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