The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration slapped Honda was slapped with $70 million in fines for failing to report problems with its vehicles. It is the highest fine ever, supplanting the $35 million agreed to by General Motors earlier this year.
The agency levied two $35 million fines against the automaker because it violated federal legal requirements regarding information NHTSA about potential safety problems in vehicles. The first was for failing to submit early warning reports detailing 1,729 injuries and death and injury claims to the NHTSA for 11 years between 2003 and 2014.
The second was for Honda’s failure to report certain warranty claims and other claims under so-called customer satisfaction campaigns during the same period. As part of the consent order the maker agreed to, it will also ensure the problems of underreporting problems doesn’t occur again.
“We have resolved this matter and will move forward to build on the important actions Honda has already taken to address our past shortcomings in early warning reporting,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president, Honda North America, Inc., in a statement. “We continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA to achieve greater transparency and to further enhance our reporting practices.”
Honda said it has already made changes in its early warning reporting processes, including new training regimens, changing internal reporting policy, making staffing and organizational changes and enhancing oversight of its early warning reporting process.
The fine was the largest this year, but 2014 was a record year for fines and it sounds like the crackdown on poor reporting is going to continue.
(2014: The Year of the Recall. For more, Click Here.)
“Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to – no excuses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Last year alone, we issued more fines than in NHTSA’s entire history. These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law and fail to do their part in the mission to keep Americans safe on the road.”
(Click Here for details about Mary Barra’s plans for GM going forward.)
NHTSA issued more than $126 million in fines against automakers last year, in addition to the $70 million against Honda, the agency fined:
- General Motors Co., $35 million, for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
- General Motors Co., $441,000, for failing to fully respond to Special Order by due date.
- Hyundai Motor America, $17.35 million for the failure to issue a recall in a timely manner.
- Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari North America, Inc, $3.5 million for failing to submit early warning reports.
Several other automotive-related companies received fines ranging from $25,000 up to $1.5 million, according to NHTSA. The agency is limited in how large a fine it can levy, topping out at $35 million, which is what GM got earlier this year and was, until now, the largest total agreed to by an automaker.
(To see why Cadillac decided to cut the price of the CTS, Click Here.)
However, part of the Administration’s four-year reauthorization bill – the Grow America Act – proposes to increase the limit to $300 million and also seeks additional authority to aid NHTSA in its efforts to force recalls.