By on December 2, 2015


Auto executives from nearly every major U.S. automaker met in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss safety, recalls and technology with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Automotive News reported.

Senior executives from 15 automakers, including General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn and Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz, met to address Foxx’s concerns that “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety,” according to a letter obtained by Automotive News.

The recent snowballing recall crises at GM, FCA and other automakers concerning Takata’s airbag inflators prompted the meeting, according to reports. A spokesman for the Transportation Department said the meeting was “very productive.”

The breadth and scope of current recalls have suggested a souring relationship between automakers and safety regulators — and a growing distrust between the public and the automakers as well.

So far this year, automakers have paid record sums to regulators for botched recalls and defective cars. This summer, GM paid $900 million for defective ignition switches that killed 124 people, FCA paid $105 million for botched recalls on some of its cars and airbag-maker Takata agreed to a $70 million fine that could swell up to $200 million if conditions aren’t met.

“Participants were asked to come prepared with suggestions to share, and spend the next month working toward concrete commitments to industrywide safety measures,” a DOT spokesman told Bloomberg.

The meeting was held on the same day that Congress proposed raising the cap on civil penalties for automakers who don’t disclose safety defects on their cars from $35 million to $105 million, according to the Detroit News.

The proposed bill would also notify owners via email of impending recalls and force rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles before issuing those cars to drivers.

The group also reportedly talked about cybersecurity, but no details were made public.

According to reports the automakers will meet again in January.


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13 Comments on “Heads of Automakers in US Meet In Washington, Discuss Safety, Recalls...”

  • avatar

    At this point, does anybody believe Takata will be around long enough to complete the recall and pay their fines? Which customers do they have left?

  • avatar

    “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety”

    This admin never fails to couch issues in terms that recognize our bumpkin need for a tent-preacher/messiah to restore our simple faith in his government. Even when we’re not demonstrating any particular concern for a given issue.

    • 0 avatar

      When automakers started to outsource to suppliers instead of making the parts and components in one of their wholly-owned or controlled factories, the automakers lost control as the suppliers cut corners to improve their own bottom line.

      Honda and Toyota used to be manufacturers of quality automobiles, when they were imported to the US from Japan. Today, they’re no better than the domestics because they all use the same suppliers.

      Such is our new world. Inept and incompetent government that stands in the way of business and industry only worsens the lack of concern for this and other issues.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    There is plenty of blame to go around:

    1. Shoddy (at times) engineering work by the mfrs.
    2. The pressure of the annual product cycle, with too little time to properly test all contingencies, especially age-related issues.
    3. Too much trust placed in OEM suppliers, and too little oversight of them.
    4. Trial lawyers who win exorbitant settlements for their clients.
    5. Consumers who want the lowest-cost gadget-laden product and the highest-possible legal settlements if they fail.
    6. Over-reaching (at times) government regulators.
    7. An abundance of drunk-driving accidents which hurt everyone involved – the drunk, the victims, the insurance rates, the engineers who are asked to protect the public from them, etc.
    8. A public that demands protection from themselves and from the Big Bad Companies, without funding the oversight to do so.
    9. Higher speed limits. It pains me to include this one, but both physics and statistics show that speed kills.

    And there are more.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not that complicated. Takata made defective products. The question is why.

      Margins in the supplier business are slim. That doesn’t leave much cash to spare for the things that neither automakers nor car buyers will pay for, such as better QC and more extensive testing. Perhaps paying more for this equipment may have helped, perhaps not.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        The narrow case of Takata fits into my #1, 2, 3 above.

        I was referring to the overall theme of the meeting described in this article, which has many tentacles.

  • avatar

    IOW, 16 progressive corporatists getting together to figure out how 15 of them can get bigger bonuses this year than last, and the 16th can either get reelected, or a cush job exploiting his rolodex.

    Minimally literate people who actually cared about what “the people’s” faith in the auto industry was, would, like, talk to “the people.” But in the Age of Incompetence, minimally literate is, like, soooo last century…

    • 0 avatar

      Now, now, let’s be accurate. The 16th is a political appointee, charged with making sure there’s no blowback from bad press or the public that can impact his patron(s). The other 15 are looking for ways to keep the government off their backs and make sure there’s no blowback from bad press or the public that can impact company profitability. The bonuses/promotions come later for achieving those targets.

      • 0 avatar

        “Keeping the government off their backs”, have been nothing but a quaint fairytale since the Sherman act. The game is to ensure government runs interference for them, by clinging, like leeches, to every potential competitor’s back. As well as to ensure government makes mandatory every new, useless, widget that they have figured out how to build, lest some “regressive” still stuck in the pre-Incompetence era realizes his old Panther is still plenty good enough, if only some Chinese outfit would sell a non worn out replica for what he originally paid for it.

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