— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is extending its oversight of Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) for another year to monitor the automaker and how it handles safety issues.
In 2015, FCA was hit with a $105 million fine for failures with 23 recalls involving about 11 million vehicles and a separate $70 million penalty for not accurately reporting deaths and injuries for more than 10 years.
Some of the problems came from a recall of nearly 972,000 Ram trucks to replace tie rods. NHTSA received numerous complaints from owners about dealers saying they couldn't get the replacement parts and in some cases it could take months for repairs.
However, FCA management denied there were any problems with getting parts, but then admitted the recalls had been suspended over concerns the replacement parts weren't up to standards.
FCA says it understands NHTSA has the right to extend the oversight for another year but points out the extension is "not based on a concern about FCA’s performance to date, but rather to facilitate continued communication between FCA and NHTSA on potential defect issues.”
As part of the oversight, FCA will continue to attend monthly meetings the automaker says has been effective in communicating possible safety defect issues with the government.
FCA isn't alone in the oversight department as NHTSA is monitoring General Motors until May 2017 because of its 10-year deception about deadly ignition switches.
Chrysler Revises Sales Figures
The extended government oversight of FCA was announced near the same time FCA said it was revising how it calculated monthly sales figures for new vehicles. Chrysler reported yearly gains in sales of new vehicles but according to the revisions, those gains ended in September 2013.
Fiat Chrysler was sued by two dealerships in January 2016 alleging sales figures were inflated. The racketeering lawsuit claims certain dealers were offered money if they reported vehicles were sold even if they were still sitting on the lot.
Then in July, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into Chrysler's sales numbers.
Based on the revised figures, annual sales increased by about 15,000 vehicles in three of the last six years, but sales decreased the other three years by nearly 9,000 vehicles. FCA also says about 19,000 new vehicles should have been included in sales figures since 2011 but the vehicles were not properly counted.
Although admitting it is revising sales figures, Chrysler didn't admit to any wrongdoing and said many manufacturers perform sales calculations the same way.