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Supplemental Notice of Public Hearing To Determine Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met Its Obligations To Remedy Recalled Vehicles and To Notify NHTSA, Owners, and Purchasers of Recalls

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Supplemental Notice of Public Hearing To Determine Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met Its Obligations To Remedy Recalled Vehicles and To Notify NHTSA, Owners, and Purchasers of Recalls

Mark R. Rosekind
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
June 22, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 119 (Monday, June 22, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35716-35721]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15246]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0047]


Supplemental Notice of Public Hearing To Determine Whether Fiat 
Chrysler Has Reasonably Met Its Obligations To Remedy Recalled Vehicles 
and To Notify NHTSA, Owners, and Purchasers of Recalls

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of public hearing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NHTSA will hold a public hearing on whether Fiat Chrysler 
Automobiles US LLC (Fiat Chrysler) has reasonably met its obligations 
to remedy recalled vehicles and to notify NHTSA, owners, and purchasers 
of recalls. This notice provides supplemental information on the 
subject matter of the hearing.

DATES: The public hearing will be held beginning at 10 a.m. ET on July 
2, 2015, at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. If you wish to attend or speak at the 
hearing, you must register in advance no later than June 30, 2015 (and 
June 26, 2015, for non-U.S. citizens), by following the instructions in 
the Procedural Matters section of this notice. NHTSA will consider late 
registrants to the extent time and space allows, but cannot ensure that 
late registrants will be able to attend or speak at the hearing. To 
ensure that NHTSA has an opportunity to consider

[[Page 35717]]

comments, NHTSA must receive written comments by June 23, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to the docket number identified in 
the heading of this document by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, you should mention the 
docket number of this document.
    You may call the Docket office at 202-366-9324.
    Note that all comments received will be posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For registration to attend or speak at 
the public hearing: Carla Bridges, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: 202-366-2992) (Fax: 202-366-3820). For hearing procedures: 
Justine Casselle, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: 202-366-2992) (Fax: 202-366-3820). Information regarding 
recalls is available on NHTSA's Web site: http://www.safercar.gov. To 
find recalls by NHTSA Recall Number: (1) In the drop-down menu in the 
lower right-hand corner for ``Shortcut search for a recall,'' select 
``by Campaign ID Number; (2) click ``Go''; (3) select the box for 
``Recalls''; (3) enter the recall number; and (4) click ``GO.''

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As the agency explained in its Federal 
Register notice of May 22, 2015 (80 FR 29790), NHTSA has substantial 
concerns about the significant safety hazards posed to consumers in 
connection with Fiat Chrysler's administration and execution of its 
recalls. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(e) and 30120(e), and 49 CFR 
557.6(d) and 557.7, NHTSA has decided to hold a public hearing on 
whether Fiat Chrysler has reasonably met its obligations under the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended (Safety Act), 
to remedy recalled vehicles and to provide notifications regarding its 
recalls.

I. Initiation of a Recall

    A manufacturer of a motor vehicle that decides in good faith that 
the vehicle contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety or does 
not comply with an applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) must notify NHTSA by submitting a Defect and Noncompliance 
Information Report, commonly referred to as a Part 573 Report. 49 
U.S.C. 30118(c); 49 CFR 573.6. The manufacturer must subsequently file 
quarterly reports with NHTSA on the recall, including the status of the 
manufacturer's recall notification campaign and the number of vehicles 
that have been remedied. 49 CFR 573.7.

II. Fiat Chrysler Recalls

    NHTSA's public hearing may address Fiat Chrysler's performance in 
recalls including, but not limited to, NHTSA Recall Nos. 13V-038, 13V-
252, 13V-527, 13V-528, 13V-529, 14V-154, 14V-373, 14V-391, 14V-438, 
14V-567, 14V-634, 14V-635, 14V-749, 14V-795, 14V-796, 14V-817, 15V-041, 
15V-046, 15V-090, 15V-114, 15V-115, and 15V-178. This includes two 
recalls, Recall Nos. 14V-154 and 14V-635, for which the agency 
identified concerns following publication of its May 22, 2015 Federal 
Register notice (80 FR 29790). These twenty-two recall campaigns are to 
address the following:
    1. Loosening of the rear axle pinion nut causing loss of vehicle 
control (Recall No. 13V-038);
    2. Rear fuel tank structure's risk of failure (Recall No. 13V-252);
    3. Failure of the left tie rod assembly resulting in loss of 
steering control (Recall No. 13V-527);
    4. Failure of the left tie rod assembly resulting in loss of 
steering control (Recall No. 13V-528);
    5. Failure of the left tie rod assembly resulting in loss of 
steering control (Recall No. 13V-529);
    6. Water freezing in the brake booster (Recall No. 14V-154);
    7. Inadvertent ignition switch movement turning off the engine 
(Recall No. 14V-373);
    8. Vanity lamp wiring shortages resulting in fire (Recall No. 14V-
391);
    9. Inadvertent ignition switch movement turning off the engine 
(Recall No. 14V-438);
    10. Inadvertent ignition switch movement turning off the engine 
(Recall No. 14V-567);
    11. Sudden failure of the alternator (Recall No. 14V-634);
    12. Electrical connectors of the diesel fuel heater may overheat 
(Recall No. 14V-635);
    13. Inoperative instrument cluster causing vehicle failure (Recall 
No. 14V-749);
    14. Broken springs in the clutch ignition interlock switch (Recall 
No. 14V-795);
    15. Loosening of the rear axle pinion nut causing loss of vehicle 
control (Recall No. 14V-796);
    16. Potential air bag inflator rupture with metal fragments causing 
serious injury (14V-817);
    17. Unintended air bag deployment during vehicle operation (Recall 
No. 15V-041);
    18. Unintended air bag deployment during vehicle operation (Recall 
No. 15V-046);
    19. Contaminated, dislodged or broken parking pawl or park rod 
(Recall No. 15V-090);
    20. Fuel leak near an ignition source (Recall No. 15V-114);
    21. Fuel pump relay causing a vehicle to stall without warning 
(Recall No. 15V-115); and
    22. Driver and passenger side door latch failure (Recall No. 15V-
178).

III. Recall Remedy Requirements

    A manufacturer of a recalled motor vehicle is required to remedy 
the vehicle's defect or noncompliance without charge. 49 U.S.C. 
30120(a). The manufacturer may repair the vehicle, replace the vehicle 
with an identical or reasonably equivalent vehicle, or refund the 
purchase price, less a reasonable allowance for depreciation. Id. If a 
manufacturer decides to repair a defect or noncompliance and the repair 
is not done adequately within a reasonable time, the manufacturer shall 
replace the vehicle without charge with an identical or reasonably 
equivalent vehicle, or refund the purchase price, less a reasonable 
allowance for depreciation. Id. Sec.  30120(c).
    On its own motion or on application by any interested person, NHTSA 
may conduct a hearing to decide whether a manufacturer has reasonably 
met the remedy requirements. Id. Sec.  30120(e); 49 CFR 557.6. If NHTSA 
decides that the manufacturer has not reasonably met the remedy 
requirements, it shall order the manufacturer to take specified action 
to meet those requirements, including by ordering the manufacturer to 
refund the purchase price of the defective or noncomplying vehicles, 
less a reasonable allowance for depreciation. 49 U.S.C. 30120(a), (c), 
(e); see 49 CFR 557.8. NHTSA may also take any other action authorized 
by the Safety Act. 49 U.S.C. 30120(e); 49 CFR 557.8. A person

[[Page 35718]]

that violates the Safety Act, including the remedy requirements, or 
regulations prescribed thereunder, is liable to the United States 
Government for a civil penalty of not more than $7,000 for each 
violation. 49 U.S.C. 30165(a)(1); 49 CFR 578.6. A separate violation 
occurs for each motor vehicle and for each failure to perform a 
required act. Id. The maximum penalty for a related series of 
violations is $35,000,000. Id.

IV. Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met the Remedy Requirements

    The public hearing will address NHTSA's concerns that Fiat Chrysler 
is not meeting its recall remedy requirements. NHTSA has tentatively 
concluded that Fiat Chrysler has not remedied vehicles in a reasonable 
time and has not adequately remedied vehicles. NHTSA will consider 
information on issues including, but not limited to, those detailed 
below in deciding whether Fiat Chrysler has reasonably met the remedy 
requirements of the Safety Act.

A. Failure To Remedy Vehicles in a Reasonable Time

    On February 6, 2013, Fiat Chrysler recalled approximately 278,000 
model year 2009 Dodge Durango, 2009 Plymouth Aspen, 2009-2011 Dodge 
Dakota and 2009-2012 Ram 1500 vehicles. This recall, 13V-038, involves 
a pinion nut on the vehicle's differential that may come loose. If this 
occurs, both rear wheels can lock up and the vehicle can become 
uncontrollable. Although this recall was initiated over 16 months ago, 
NHTSA has received, and continues to receive, numerous complaints from 
owners of these vehicles that they have been unable to have the recall 
repair performed because parts to perform the repair are not available. 
These complaints include incidents where the pinion nut has failed 
after the owners were notified that parts were not available, including 
two incidents resulting in crashes.
    Another series of recalls involves a tie rod end that can fracture, 
disabling the steering gear and causing a loss of directional control. 
Fiat Chrysler filed recall notifications for recalls 13V-527 and 13V-
529 on November 6, 2013. The company filed another recall notification 
for recall 13V-528 on November 11, 2013. These three recalls involve 
approximately one million Dodge Ram pickup trucks and cab chassis 
vehicles. Problems with producing sufficient replacement parts to allow 
repair of these vehicles were compounded by failures of the remedy part 
that caused Fiat Chrysler to stop shipment of the replacement parts. At 
this time, a year and a half after the recall notices were filed, many 
of the vehicles remain unrepaired. Owners have reported to NHTSA that 
they have been unable to have their vehicles repaired after making 
multiple attempts to do so because parts are unavailable.
    On June 18, 2013 Fiat Chrysler notified NHTSA that it would conduct 
a recall of approximately 1.5 million model year 2003-2008 Jeep Liberty 
and model year 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles to reduce the 
risk of fire in rear end collisions. Among other things, Fiat Chrysler 
indicated that it would install trailer hitches on these vehicles to 
improve the performance of the rear structure of the vehicles in such 
impacts. As of April 30, 2015, Fiat Chrysler has completed remedy 
repairs on 320,000 of the 1.5 million vehicles involved in these 
recalls.

B. Failure To Adequately Repair Defects

    Fiat Chrysler filed a recall notification on July 1, 2014 stating 
that a safety related defect existed in approximately 650,000 model 
year 2011-2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. The 
defect results in the risk of fire inside the vehicle caused by a short 
circuit that occurs when fasteners used to secure a sun visor to the 
head liner pierce a wiring harness located above the sun visor mount. 
The remedy procedure called for re-locating the wiring to remove the 
risk that it would be pierced when the sun visor was re-installed. 
Following several incidents where vehicles experienced fires after the 
remedy repair had been conducted, Chrysler issued revised instructions 
and service procedures in April 2015 to ensure that the recall remedy 
repair procedure did not result in damage to the wiring harness when 
the sun visor was reattached. NHTSA is aware of 13 incidents where 
short circuits, including fires or thermal events, occurred after the 
recall remedy was attempted.

V. Recall Notification Requirements

    A manufacturer must submit a Part 573 Report to NHTSA, initiating a 
recall, not more than five working days after it knew or should have 
known of a safety-related defect or noncompliance in its vehicles. See 
49 CFR 573.6(b). The manufacturer's initial Part 573 Report to must 
contain, at a minimum the manufacturer's name, the identity of the 
vehicles potentially containing the defect or noncompliance, and a 
description of the defect or noncompliance. Id. Other required 
information not available at the time the initial Part 573 Report must 
be submitted within five working days after the manufacturer has 
confirmed the accuracy of the information. Id. This includes a 
chronology of all principal events that were the basis for the 
determination that the defect related to motor vehicle safety. 49 CFR 
573.6(c)(6).
    A manufacturer must amend its Part 573 Report within five working 
days after it has new information that updates or corrects information 
previously reported on the identity of the vehicles potentially 
containing the defect or noncompliance, the total number of vehicles 
potentially containing the defect or noncompliance, the manufacturer's 
program for remedying the defect or noncompliance, and the estimated 
date(s) on which it will begin sending notifications about the recall 
to owners and dealers. 49 CFR 573.6(b). If a manufacturer becomes aware 
that the beginning or completion dates reported to the agency for its 
notifications to owners or dealers will be delayed by more than two 
weeks, it must promptly advise the agency of the delay and the reasons 
for the delay, and provide a revised estimate. 49 CFR 573.6(b), 
(c)(8)(ii).
    A manufacturer who decides in good faith that the vehicle contains 
a safety-related defect or does not comply with an applicable FMVSS 
must notify owners of the defect or noncompliance no later than 60 days 
from the date it files its Part 573 Report with NHTSA. 49 U.S.C. 
30118(c); 49 CFR 577.7(a)(1).
    Owner notifications must be sent, by first class mail, to each 
person registered under State law as the owner of the vehicle and whose 
name and address are reasonably ascertainable by the manufacturer 
through State records or other available sources. 49 U.S.C. 30119(d); 
49 CFR 577.7(a)(2)(i). If the owner cannot be reasonably ascertained, 
the manufacturer shall notify the most recent purchaser known to the 
manufacturer. Id. Among other things, the notification to owners must 
contain a clear description of the safety-related defect or 
noncompliance, an evaluation of the risk to motor vehicle safety 
reasonably related to the defect or noncompliance, the measures to be 
taken to obtain a remedy, and the earliest date on which the vehicle 
will be remedied without charge. 49 U.S.C. 30119(a); 49 CFR part 577. 
If a remedy is not available at the time of the initial notice, then 
the manufacturer must send a second notice to owners once a remedy is 
available. 49 CFR 577.7(a)(1).
    A manufacturer must submit a copy of its proposed owner 
notification letter to NHTSA's Recall Management Division no fewer than 
five Federal Government

[[Page 35719]]

business days before it intends to begin mailing it to owners. 49 CFR 
577.5(a).
    A manufacturer must also send notifications to dealers within a 
reasonable time after the manufacturer first decides that a safety-
related defect or noncompliance exists. 49 U.S.C. 30119(c); 49 CFR 
577.7(a). Among other requirements, the dealer notice must identify the 
vehicles covered by the recall, describe the defect or noncompliance, 
provide a brief evaluation of the risk to motor vehicle safety 
associated with the defect or noncompliance, and include a complete 
description of the recall remedy and the estimated date on which the 
remedy will be available. 49 CFR 577.13. The dealer notice must also 
include an advisory that it is a violation of Federal law for a dealer 
to deliver a new motor vehicle covered by the notification under a sale 
or lease until the defect or noncompliance is remedied. Id. Any 
required information that is not available at the time of the initial 
dealer notice shall be provided as it becomes available. Id.
    A manufacturer is required to submit to NHTSA a representative copy 
of all notices, bulletins, and other communications that related 
directly to a defect or noncompliance and are sent to more than one 
manufacturer, distributor, dealer or purchaser no later than five days 
after they are initially sent. 49 CFR 573.6(c)(10).
    All submissions pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, except as otherwise 
required, must be submitted to NHTSA through its online recalls portal. 
49 CFR 573.9. A manufacturer must use the provided templates for all 
required submissions. Id.
    On its own motion or on petition of any interested person, NHTSA 
may conduct a hearing to decide whether a manufacturer has reasonably 
met its notification requirements. 49 U.S.C. 30118(e); 49 CFR 557.6. If 
NHTSA decides that the manufacturer has not reasonably met the 
notification requirements, it shall order the manufacturer to take 
specified action to meet those requirements and may take any other 
action authorized by the Safety Act. 49 U.S.C. 30118(e); 49 CFR 557.8. 
A person that violates the Safety Act, including the notification 
requirements, or regulations prescribed thereunder, is liable to the 
United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $7,000 
for each violation. 49 U.S.C. 30165(a)(1); 49 CFR 578.6. A separate 
violation occurs for each motor vehicle and for each failure to perform 
a required act. Id. The maximum penalty for a related series of 
violations is $35,000,000. Id.

VI. Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met the Notification 
Requirements

    The public hearing will address NHTSA's concerns that Fiat Chrysler 
is not meeting its recall notification requirements. NHTSA has 
tentatively concluded that Fiat Chrysler has not notified vehicle 
owners about recalls in a timely manner and has not submitted 
information to NHTSA about its recalls that is timely, correct, 
complete, and in the required form. Compliance with the notification 
requirements is important to allow owners to make informed decisions 
about their safety and to enable NHTSA to determine whether Fiat 
Chrysler's recalls are effective in mitigating the safety risk of 
defects.
    NHTSA will consider information on issues including, but not 
limited to, those detailed below in deciding whether Fiat Chrysler has 
reasonably met the notification requirements of the Safety Act.

A. Untimely Recall Notices to Owners

    Fiat Chrysler acknowledged, in its response to NHTSA's May 18, 2015 
Special Order, that it did not timely notify owners about certain 
recalls. Fiat Chrysler stated that it first notified owners of defects 
in their vehicles after the 60-day deadline in Recall Nos. 14V-373, 
14V-567, 14V-634, 14V-795, and 15V-115.\1\ It appears Fiat Chrysler 
also did not notify owners that their vehicles were recalled within the 
required 60-day period in at least two additional recalls, Recall Nos. 
13V-527 and 14V-635. In Recall No. 13V-527, Fiat Chrysler reported to 
NHTSA that it mailed interim owner notices on January 16, 2014, or 11 
days late. In Recall No. 14V-635, Fiat Chrysler reported to NHTSA that 
it mailed interim owner notices on December 8, 2014, or two days late.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For Recall No. 14V-373, Fiat Chrysler previously reported to 
NHTSA that it mailed interim owner notices on September 11, 2014, or 
19 days late. Fiat Chrysler now says in its Special Order response 
that its interim owner notices were mailed 12 days late. For Recall 
No. 14V-795, Fiat Chrysler previously reported to NHTSA that it 
mailed interim owner notices on February 10, 2015, or within the 
required 60-day period. Fiat Chrysler now says in its Special Order 
response that its interim owner notices were mailed one day late.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additionally, Fiat Chrysler did not notify vehicle owners for over 
five months of the risk of potential air bag inflator ruptures in 
Recall No. 14V-354 (now a part of Recall No. 14V-817). Fiat Chrysler 
still has not notified vehicle owners of Recall No. 14V-817, nearly six 
months after filing its Part 573 Report in December 2014. Although Fiat 
Chrysler submitted draft interim notices to NHTSA for approval in both 
Recall Nos. 14V-354 and 14V-817, Fiat Chrysler apparently never sent 
those notices to owners.
    Timely notification to vehicle owners about recalls is critical so 
that they can make informed decisions concerning their safety. Even 
where a manufacturer does not have parts available to immediately 
repair the vehicle, an owner is entitled to understand the risk of 
continuing to drive the vehicle before it is repaired.

B. Untimely Recall Notice to NHTSA

    Fiat Chrysler's chronology for Recall No. 15V-090 states that its 
supplier notified it in October 2014 of a production process issue 
linked to the transmission shift failures that are the subject of the 
recall. Fiat Chrysler did not initiate the recall, by submitting a Part 
573 Report, until over two months later. Fiat Chrysler's chronology 
ends on December 7, 2014, when Fiat Chrysler received additional 
information from its supplier. Fiat Chrysler has not provided a 
complete chronology explaining this apparent delay in conducting a 
recall despite NHTSA's request to do so.
    The requirement to initiate a recall within five working days of 
knowing of a safety-related defect helps to mitigate the risk of 
safety-related defects. That requirement exists so that the public is 
notified of safety risks and so that vehicle owners can expeditiously 
have their vehicles remedied. Additionally, the requirement for a 
complete chronology is important so that NHTSA may ensure that recalls 
are timely.

C. Failure To Notify NHTSA About Changes to Notification Schedule

    It appears that Fiat Chrysler did not keep NHTSA informed about its 
schedule for notifying vehicle owners about recalls, as required. Fiat 
Chrysler did not notify NHTSA, by amending its Part 573 Report within 
five working days, of changes to the estimated dates on which it will 
begin notifying owners or dealers in several recalls, including Recall 
Nos. 13V-527, 14V-373, 14V-567, 14V-643, 14V-749, and 14V-795. In some 
of those recalls, involving a delay of more than two weeks in the 
notification schedule, Fiat Chrysler did not promptly provide the 
reasons for the delay and a revised estimate.
    Timely and complete information about a manufacturer's notification 
schedule is important to ensure that vehicle owners are kept informed 
about safety defects and know when and how they can have those defects 
fixed. Similarly, dealer notices provide essential information on the 
defects so that dealers can keep their customers

[[Page 35720]]

informed and repair their vehicles expediously and effectively.

D. Failure To Submit Copies of Recall Communications to NHTSA

    NHTSA has tentatively concluded that Fiat Chrysler also has not 
submitted representative copies of recall communications to NHTSA as 
required. This includes not submitting a draft owner notification for 
NHSTA's review and approval, and not timely submitting copies of owner 
and dealer communications to NHTSA.
1. Failure To Submit a Draft Owner Notification Letter
    In at least one recall, Recall No. 14V-749, Fiat Chrysler did not 
submit a draft owner notification letter to NHTSA prior to mailing it.
    NHTSA reviews draft owner notification letters to ensure that they 
contain accurate and complete information. Failing to submit a draft 
owner notice to NHTSA as required prevents NHTSA from ensuring that 
owners receive critical information about their recalled vehicles, 
including the safety risk associated with the defect and how to have it 
fixed.
2. Failure To Submit Copies of Recall Communications to Owners and 
Dealers
    Despite a legal requirement that Fiat Chrysler submit copies of 
recall communications to the agency within five days, NHTSA staff 
repeatedly has had to request that Fiat Chrysler submit copies of those 
documents to the agency. Fiat Chrysler did not submit copies of owner 
letters within five days as required in recalls including Recall Nos. 
13V-527, 14V-373, 14V-438, 14V-634, 14V-643, 14V-795, 15V-114, and 15V-
115. Fiat Chrysler also did not submit copies of dealer communications 
within five days as required in Recall Nos. 13V-252, 13V-527, 13V-528, 
13V-529, 13V-373, 13V-391, 14V-567, 14V-635, 14V-749, 14V-795, 14V-796, 
15V-090, 15V-115, and 15V-178. In twelve of those recalls, Fiat 
Chrysler did not provide NHTSA with copies of certain recall-related 
dealer communications until after NHTSA noticed this public hearing. 
When Fiat Chrysler does submit copies of recall communications, it 
routinely enters incorrect information into NHTSA's recalls portal, 
such as providing the date that Fiat Chrysler submitted a document to 
NHTSA or leaving the date blank, rather than providing the date that 
Fiat Chrysler mailed its notification to owners.
    Compliance with the requirement to submit representative copies of 
owner notification letters to the agency and to provide correct and 
complete information about the notifications to NHTSA is important so 
that NHTSA may ensure vehicle owners are aware of defects in their 
vehicles and have information on how to have those defects fixed. 
Likewise, the requirement to submit dealer communications enables the 
agency to evaluate whether dealers have accurate and complete 
information necessary to remedy vehicles. Among other things, dealer 
communications provide the personnel responsible for actually repairing 
vehicles with the instructions on how to do so. It is essential that 
NHTSA have access to those communications so that it can fulfill its 
statutory oversight role to ensure that remedies are effective.

E. Failure To Provide NHTSA With Other Critical Information About 
Recalls

    NHSTA has tentatively concluded that Fiat Chrysler also has not 
provided NHTSA with other critical information about its recalls by 
submitting timely, accurate, and complete amendments to its Part 573 
Reports, and by properly submitting information through NHTSA's online 
recalls portal. The requirement to file an amended Part 573 Report is 
important because the act of amending the Part 573 Report lets NHTSA 
and the public know that the manufacturer has become aware of 
significant new or changed information about the recall.
1. Failure To Submit Information on the Vehicles Impacted by a Recall
    Across multiple recalls, Fiat Chrysler has not correctly and 
completely identified the vehicles affected by the recalls. In several 
recalls, Fiat Chrysler sent letters or other submissions to NHTSA that 
showed an apparent change to the number of vehicles involved in a 
recall, rather than filing an amended Part 573 Report as required. On 
multiple occasions, Fiat Chrysler provided inconsistent information to 
NHTSA--apparently changing the recall population in a cover letter and 
then providing contradictory information in a later-filed amendment to 
its Part 573 Report for the recall. These recalls include Recalls No. 
13V-527, 14V-373, 14V-154, 14V-438, 14V-634, 14V-635, 14V-643, 14V-749, 
14V-795, 15V-090, and 15V-115. In another recall, Recall No. 15V-041, 
Fiat Chrysler did not correctly identify the vehicle identification 
numbers (VINs) associated with the recall. NHTSA oversight caught over 
65,000 vehicles impacted by the recall that Fiat Chrysler had not 
included. Additionally, Fiat Chrysler did not provide NHTSA with 
information on the vehicles affected by Takata air bag inflator Recall 
No. 14V-354 (now a part of Recall No. 14V-817) for over seven weeks, 
lagging far behind other manufacturers recalling vehicles for the same 
issue.
    A failure to follow the requirements for providing information on 
the vehicles affected by a recall is concerning because, if a 
manufacturer cannot provide NHTSA with consistent, correct, and timely 
information on the vehicles included in a recall to the agency, it 
suggests that the manufacturer may also be failing to provide all 
vehicle owners with notice of the defect and access to a free remedy as 
the law requires. Moreover, placing information on changes to the 
vehicle population affected by a recall in routine correspondence 
rather than filing an amended Part 573 Report, as required, impedes 
NHTSA and the public's ability to understand the full universe of 
vehicles impacted by the defect.
2. Failure To Submit Information on the Recall Remedy
    NHTSA has tentatively concluded that Fiat Chrysler also has not 
submitted amended Part 573 Reports as required when it has confirmed or 
changed its remedy plan. This has occurred for recalls including Recall 
Nos. 13V-527 and 14V-634.
    Having timely and complete access to information on a 
manufacturer's remedy plan is essential for the agency to assess the 
remedy plan and ensure that a manufacturer is meeting its obligation to 
adequately repair vehicle defects within a reasonable time.

VII. Decision To Conduct a Public Hearing

    NHTSA has decided that it is necessary to conduct a public hearing 
to decide whether Fiat Chrysler has reasonably met the remedy and 
notification requirements under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120. See 49 
U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  30118(e), Sec. Sec.  30120(e); 49 CFR 557.6(d), 
557.7.
    Based on information presented at the public hearing and other 
available information, NHTSA may issue an order that could include a 
finding that Fiat Chrysler failed to carry out its recall requirements 
under the Safety Act and requiring Fiat Chrysler to take specific 
actions to comply with the law.
    Any interested person may make written and/or oral presentations of 
information, views, and arguments on whether Fiat Chrysler has 
reasonably met the remedy and/or notification requirements. There will 
be no cross-examination of witnesses. 49 CFR 557.7.
    NHTSA will consider the views of participants in deciding whether 
Fiat

[[Page 35721]]

Chrysler has reasonably met the notification and/or remedy requirements 
under 49 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  30118 and 30120, and in developing the terms 
of an order (if any) requiring Fiat Chrysler to take specified action 
as the remedy for the recalls and/or take other action. 49 U.S.C. 
Sec. Sec.  30118(e), 30120(e); 49 CFR 557.8.
    Procedural Matters: Interested persons may participate in these 
proceedings through written and/or oral presentations. Persons wishing 
to attend must notify Carla Bridges, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: 202-366-2992) (Fax: 202-366-3820), before the close of 
business on June 30, 2015 (and June 26, 2015, for non-U.S. citizens). 
Each person wishing to attend must provide his or her name and country 
of citizenship. Non-U.S. citizens must also provide date of birth, 
title or position, and passport or diplomatic ID number, along with 
expiration date. Each person wishing to make an oral presentation must 
also specify the amount of time that the presentation is expected to 
last, his or her organizational affiliation, phone number, and email 
address. NHTSA will prepare a schedule of presentations. Depending upon 
the number of persons who wish to make oral presentations and the 
anticipated length of those presentations, NHTSA may limit the length 
of oral presentations.
    For security purposes, photo identification is required to enter 
the U.S. Department of Transportation building. To allow sufficient 
time to clear security and enter the building, NHTSA recommends that 
hearing participants arrive 30 to 60 minutes prior to the start of the 
public hearing.
    The hearing will be held at a site accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. Individuals who require accommodations, such as sign 
language interpreters, should contact Ms. Justine Casselle using the 
contact information in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
above no later than June 24, 2015. A transcript of the proceedings will 
be placed in the docket for this notice at a later date.
    Persons who wish to file written comments should submit them so 
that they are received by NHTSA no later than June 23, 2015. 
Instructions on how to submit written comments to the docket is located 
under the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  30118(e), 30120(e); 49 CFR 
557.6(d), 557.7; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95(a) and 
501.2(a)(1).

    Issued: June 16, 2015.
Mark R. Rosekind,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-15246 Filed 6-19-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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