Daimler Trucks fined up to $30 million for slow recalls

WASHINGTON — Failing to recall vehicles quickly enough could cost Daimler Trucks up to $30 million in fines and other costs.

In penalties announced Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Daimler also failed to comply with other reporting requirements. They include an upfront fine of $10 million, another $5 million the automaker must spend on safety enhancements, and a deferred $15 million penalty, which may or may not have to be paid.

The order stems from several recalls between 2017 and 2018, including one involving 464,000 vehicles. Daimler said there have been no known accidents or injuries related to what it called “voluntary recalls.”

The consent order, which lasts from two to three years, requires Daimler to improve its ability to detect and investigate potential safety defects in its vehicles. The company must also improve its collection of safety information from its businesses and report the information accurately to regulators at NHTSA. It also requires Daimler to develop written procedures and training for employees who work on recalls and reporting requirements.

“We appreciate the opportunity to summarily resolve this matter and continue building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles,” Daimler Trucks said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Daimler Trucks agreed to meet with NHTSA on at least a monthly basis as part of the settlement.

“It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said.

In December 2019, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz USA unit agreed to a $20 million civil penalty over its handling of U.S. vehicle recalls after NHTSA said it 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.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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