Mercedes-Benz USA has agreed to pay $20 million in civil penalty over its handling of U.S. vehicle recalls following a year-long investigation by the U.S. government into the recall of 1.4 million vehicles.
Under the terms of the settlement, Mercedes-Benz USA will have to $13 million and face another fine of $7 million if its found non-compliant with the agreement.
In a statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated, “Daimler had failed to notify owners in a timely fashion in some recalls, did not submit all reports and did not launch at least two recalls in a timely fashion”.
In its statement, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) said, “we believe that we did not deliberately do anything wrong, but unfortunately we missed some deadlines in informing the agency of the measures we had taken in fulfilling their requirements.” It went on to add, it has “agreed to resolve this matter in an effort to answer NHTSA’s questions and move forward.”
The automaker will have to meet with the NHTSA on a quarterly basis to discuss its recall performance for at least a year.
The automaker is “currently developing more robust procedures with regard to reporting non-compliance concerns.”
NHTSA stated, it had taken into account “the substantial financial investment that MBUSA has made in the development and rollout of its automated recall management tool, as well as the hiring of additional personnel and ongoing trainings.”
“The agency’s reporting requirements help ensure that consumers are protected and given important information about how to get recalls repaired,” said James Owens, the NHTSA’s Acting Administrator in a statement. “We expect manufacturers to follow their legal obligations to the agency and to consumers in carrying out safety recalls.”