Safety regulators and Mercedes settle civil matter over recalls of 1.4 million vehicles in 2017.

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Mercedes-Benz Recall Failures Lead To $20 Million Settlement
Safety regulators and Mercedes settle civil matter over recalls of 1.4 million vehicles in 2017.

— Mercedes-Benz recall failures have cost the automaker $20 million to settle federal allegations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to the government, Mercedes signed the settlement agreement admitting mistakes were made during the recalls of 1.4 million vehicles.

NHTSA opened an investigation in October 2018 alleging Mercedes failed to follow regulations concerning recalls ordered in 2017. Safety regulators alleged the automaker didn't inform customers about safety recalls within the 60-day period mandated by law.

The government also alleged Mercedes committed other sins by failing to mail recall notices to owners in the required time periods and by failing to file proper quarterly recall reports.

Even the automaker's website came under scrutiny when NHTSA said failures occurred with the vehicle identification number lookup tool that may have prevented customers from learning about safety recalls.

Mercedes had additional problems with notifying dealerships about planned recalls and even misestimated the percentage of vehicles affected by recalls. In addition, the automaker ignored questions from NHTSA and didn't provide important information concerning the 2017 safety recalls.

Safety regulators further complained they had trouble investigating alleged safety problems because Mercedes failed to perform its legal duties.

According to the $20 million settlement agreement, Mercedes-Benz will pay a $13 million civil penalty now, but an additional $7 million will be deferred and could become payable if specified conditions are not satisfied.

The Mercedes agreement will be in effect for one year with the option for NHTSA to extend for an additional year under certain conditions.


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