Ford agrees $17.4m fine for delaying recalls
Agreements related to unintended acceleration of Ford Escape SUV
Ford’s fine agreement, announced yesterday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, involves Ford Escape SUVs the auto maker recalled last year after a fatal crash in Arizona.
Ford agreed to pay $17.4 million (€13.1 million), the largest penalty the US auto-safety regulator can impose, for delaying recalls involving unintended acceleration.
Toyota was assessed the same penalty by NHTSA in December for delaying reports that accelerator pedals could be trapped by floor mats in some Lexus models. That followed NHTSA’s $48.8 million in fines against Toyota in 2009 and 2010 for delaying recalls related to unintended acceleration.
“It is critical to the safety of the driving public that manufacturers address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner,” Nathan Naylor, a NHTSA spokesman, said.
“As government regulators, it is our job to ensure that manufacturers are held accountable to address safety issues promptly and responsively.”
NHTSA contended the company had enough information by May 2011 to recall the vehicles, said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker. Ford issued the recall in July 2012 for vehicles with three-litre V6 engines and speed control. Vehicles with other engines were not included.
“While we are confident in our current processes for quickly identifying and addressing potential vehicle issues, Ford agreed to this settlement to avoid a lengthy dispute with the government,” Felker said. – (Bloomberg)