Daimler Trucks North America has incurred the wrath of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a raft of what the it describes as bungled recalls for Freightliner and Western Star trucks in the USA and has been fined a total of $US 30 million of which $US 15 million is suspended, as a result.
The NHTSA says that Daimler Trucks’ North American was somewhat tardy with seven recalls following a probe it launched in 2018 and which has led the the government agency to issue a consent order along with that $US30 million penalty.
A consent order is an agreement signed by the company stating that it will undertake a series of corrective actions outlined by NHTSA to shore up its recall policies or suffer consequences. Daimler’s consent order states that should a defect be found that would cause a vehicle to no longer comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that it notify NHTSA and begin the recall process within five days of its discovery.
Daimler has also agreed to update its IT infrastructure and data management systems to more quickly collect safety information from the many different business units under its control leading to a quicker turnaround on recall reporting.
“The paramount focus for Daimler Trucks North America is on building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles for the customers and drivers who keep our country and the world moving,” a Daimler Trucks representative said in a statement.
“In this case, though there are no known accidents or injuries associated with any of the voluntary recalls, we appreciate the opportunity to summarily resolve this matter and continue building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles.”
The consent order between Daimler and NHTSA is set to last two years, although that could be extended by an additional year at NHTSA’s request if the agency deems it necessary.
The order states that $US10 million of the $US 30 million sum has to be paid within 60 days, and $US5 million must be spent on projects to enhance vehicle safety. Finally, the last $US15 million will be deferred or suspended, however the NHTSA could require it to be payable if Daimler doesn’t meet its part of the deal.
While Daimler is a massive global company and $US30 million a bit of drop in the ocean the reality is the incidents like this are embarrassing and boards of companies like Daimler, where reputations are seen as vitally important, hate to have the corporation attached to them.